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How To Tell The Difference Between Tangerines and Clementines

Some citrus fruits look identical to one another, and this can constitute a nuisance for an inexperienced shopper who can’t exactly tell the difference, especially when the fruits are in season. This article discusses two citrus fruits, tangerines and clementines, and how to tell them apart easily.

By Cookist

Citrus fruits all have different characteristics, but sometimes their varieties look very similar. They each have their flavor, texture, or peel, so if you’re after a specific characteristic, it is important that you know which is which.

Tangerines and clementines are hybrids of the small mandarin, which are the second-largest cultivated group of citrus fruits, with oranges being the first. Sweet oranges include varieties like navel and blood oranges, all of which are on the larger side.

Tangerines and clementines share many qualities attributed to other mandarins, including smaller size, fewer seeds, a sweet flavor, and a thin, soft skin that can easily be peeled. The two fruits look very similar, which is why it is easy to get them mixed up.



They are believed to originate from Southeast Asia, and they were named tangerines because they were exported by traveling via the port of Tangier in Morocco. In the US, they are popular;y called mandarins, but not all tangerines can be called mandarins and vice versa.

Tangerines are cultivated in warm climate areas globally but are more tolerant of cold weather compared to larger varieties of sweet oranges. They can be found in stores between November and April.

They have a sweeter taste than navel oranges but still, have a little tartness evident in them. They have a darker reddish-orange, soft skin that can easily be peeled.



Clementines are another variety of mandarins and, like the tangerines, have a sweet taste with easily peelable skin. The easiest way to differentiate them from tangerines is by their relatively smaller size, brighter orange color, and smoother skin.

Many have also reported that they find them much easier to peel than a tangerine because they have thinner skin. Clementines possess a more oval shape with a characteristic flat spot on the top and bottom.

They are usually sold in packages and tagged “Halos” or “Cuties,” but these are just marketing names rather than an indication of varieties.

In conclusion, tangerines and clementines are closely related, and despite their little differences, the two are great fruits. They contain important compounds that can reduce the risk of heart disease, keep bones strong and also maintain your digestive tract.

Remember, that clementines are slightly smaller than tangerines and easier to peel but know that they are both healthy and sweet.

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