You may have noticed that some fruits are more readily available than others. For example, you can generally find apples and standard oranges on supermarket shelves year round. So why are tangerines so hard to find? Read on to learn why, and when you’ll be able to find these sweet little gems.
Why are tangerines hard to find?
Tangerines aren’t exactly hard to find: they’re just only available seasonally. Just like pomegranates and blood oranges, tangerines are only at their full ripeness from late autumn to mid winter. If you’re really lucky, you might find some in early springtime too. As a result, this is the only time of year you’ll be able to get your hands on them.
If you live in a remote area, however, you may still find tangerines hard to find during this season. This is because these citrus fruits need to be transported from overseas. Many remote locations such as Alaska, Nunavut, Svalbard, and Siberia won’t get many tangerines in stock at all. It all depends on how much funding your area puts towards fresh fruit and vegetable imports.
Some remote or cold regions tackle the import problem by growing tangerines indoors. If you’re really fond of these fruits, consider growing a few of your own! You can either cultivate them in greenhouses, or grow dwarf varieties in your home. Just make sure to check whether the trees you get are self-fertile or not. If they’re self-sterile, you’ll need to have at least two to cross-pollinate for fertilization.
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Do they still sell tangerines?
If you’re in a standard shipping location, yes! You should be able to find glorious heaps of tangerines starting around the end of November.
These fruits are super popular around Christmastime, and often find their way into holiday stockings. They’re also common gifts for Hanukkah and Chinese New Year. Look around your supermarket’s fresh produce section during the winter months. You’ll likely see crates of tangerines covered with mesh so they don’t slip away.
Alternatively, if you can’t find them at your local grocery store, check the closest Asian food market. They often have a wider variety of fresh fruits and vegetables than standard supermarkets.
Tangerines aren’t as easy to find as clementines or navel oranges. In fact, they’re about as rare as blood oranges in most parts of North America. If you really have difficulty finding them, talk to your grocery. They might be able to arrange a special order just for you, if you agree to buy several crates in bulk.
Related Article: Why are Tangerines Associated with Christmas?
Are tangerines available all year?
As mentioned, you’ll likely only be able to find fresh tangerines between November and February. They flower in summertime and take several months to develop their fruiting bodies. In fact, they come into perfect ripeness just when the weather starts to get really cold and gray.
Of course, if you’re a huge tangerine fan, there’s an easy way to ensure that you can eat tangerines all year round. Can you guess what it is?
When tangerines are ripe and abundant, buy as many crates as you can afford. Then preserve them by canning them in water or simple syrup. Sure, this is a fairly labor-intensive project, but it’s so worthwhile.
By canning your own tangerines, you can ensure that your pantry is stocked with them. You won’t have to wait until next December to enjoy their deliciousness! Just crack open a half-pint jar whenever you feel like eating them. Citrus fruits are also some of the easiest to preserve, as they’re so acidic. They don’t need too much processing, and you can flavor them however you like.
Try canning some with spices like cinnamon and cloves for a holiday-like flavor. Or toss some chili flakes and a piece of star anise into the simple syrup for a Thai kick. These are great pureed into dipping sauces for vegan spring rolls any time of year! You can also use the slices to top coconut milk ice cream, or toss them into smoothies. Try blending canned tangerines with freshly squeezed ruby grapefruit juice and frozen strawberries for an amazing morning treat.
Best of all, if any of your friends lament how rare tangerines are to find, you can offer them a jar as a surprise.