The tangerine (Citrus reticulata) is a small thin-skinned variety of orange belonging to the mandarin orange species of the family Rutaceae. It was formerly known as Citrus nobilis. The English name refers to an unrelated plant, the Tangier or tangor, whose juice is bitter and not sweet. It is thought that the tangerine is a cross between the mandarin and pomelo or grapefruit (Citrus maxima), and derives its name from the city of Tangier, Morocco, through which it was distributed to Europe. It may also be called satsuma, presumably from the former Japanese port called Satsuma.
The tangerine is one of the more easily recognized citrus fruits, being distinctly orange or orange-red in color, medium to large in size - 3 to 7 inches wide - with a thinner peel than most other varieties of oranges. The three to seven sections are seedless and easy to separate. It has a sweet flavor with little acid and a very pleasant aroma.
The name was first recorded in 1856, but it was long thought to have been in cultivation much earlier - even before the tenth century, according to some legends. The flowers of the tangerine are not any more scented than other citrus flowers. Its origins were traced to the easter region of China, from where it has been carried to India and Persia. In 1846 a Russian naval officer brought tangerines to the Black Sea port of Odesa, whence they spread into central Europe in the second half of the nineteenth century.
The fruit is somewhat flattened at both ends and has ten prominently-veined, loose segments. The peel color ranges from yellowish to orange, with an occasional dark bluish-tinge on the outermost surface. Tangerines are typically eaten fresh or pressed for juice. They can be used in preserves and are sometimes available canned, but this is generally not recommended because of their high water content and lack of flavor in the juice.
Zinc, beta-carotene, and essential oils are contained in the tangerine peel. Tangerines also contain a carotenoid pigment known as cryptoxanthin which is thought to be beneficial in counteracting solid tumors and cancers of the cervix.
"Tangerine" is also used to describe a deep orange color. This usage derives from the fruit's resemblance to the traditional orange color of tangerine-flavored candy, such as Tangy Taffy. The reason for the name is that tangerines have traditionally been grown in or near Tangier, Morocco. However, it also has a similar color to the south of another orange-like fruit called mandarin. Chinese people call this kind of oranges "tangerine" since they are originated from South China. Thus, tangerines and mandarins are the same in color, but different in origins.
In an article about global tangerine and mandarin production for 2020-21, it is stated that global tangerine and mandarin production are expected to grow by slightly more than one percent in 2020-21. As a result, supplies are forecast to increase in China, the European Union, Morocco and Turkey. Production is also increasing among other countries due to government initiatives aimed at stabilizing the market. In addition, global consumption is expected to increase at a faster rate than production in 2020-21. Furthermore, exports are expected to witness an increase over the forecast period because of growing demand from Asian markets.