Mandarin oranges have various health benefits due to their vitamin C content. The nutritional profile depends on the size of the fruit, but one mandarin can provide about a third of a person’s daily requirement of vitamin C.

As well as being a good source of vitamin C, mandarins contain active plant compounds that have anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties.

However, people must store and handle mandarins correctly to maintain their freshness and taste.

This article explores mandarin oranges and the differences between other types of oranges. It looks at their nutritional profile and health benefits, and how to store them.

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Mandarins are citrus fruits that belong to the botanical family Rutaceae. They are smaller and sweeter than oranges, slightly flatter, and with a thinner, looser skin that is easy to peel.

People in the United States often use the terms mandarin and tangerine interchangeably. However, tangerines are a type of mandarin, but not all mandarins are tangerines – there are different varieties.

Tangerines are larger and flatter in shape with an uneven ‘pebbly’ textured skin.

There are many different mandarin orange varieties, including Chinese honey mandarin, Satsuma, and clementine. Additionally, mandarin orange hybrids include tangelo and tangor.

Satsuma mandarins are a specific type of mandarin orange originating in Japan over 700 years ago. They are sweet, tender, and seedless, and more difficult for people to find fresh in stores.

Mandarins vary in color from bright orange to a deep reddish-orange. Their peel pulls away from the flesh quickly, allowing people to segment the orange into individual pieces without any difficulty.

Learn more about oranges here.

A medium mandarin orange weighing approximately 88 grams (g) contains the following nutrients of note:

  • calories: 46.6
  • carbohydrate: 11.7 g
  • total sugars: 9.33 g
  • vitamin C: 23.5 milligrams (mg)
  • calcium: 32.6 mg
  • folate: 14.1 micrograms (mcg)
  • beta carotene: 136 mcg

Mandarins also contain other active compounds which may benefit health.

Learn more about the importance of nutrition here.

Mandarin oranges are citrus fruits that offer health benefits due to their vitamin C and antioxidant content.

A 2015 review suggests that the phytochemicals and active compounds in citrus fruits have the following beneficial health properties:

  • antioxidant
  • anti-inflammatory
  • anti-cancer
  • cardiovascular protective
  • neuroprotective

The same review also notes that traditional medicine practices in Asian countries, including China, Japan, and Korea, value citrus fruits for treating the following conditions:

It is important to note, however, that evidence has not proven all these effects.

Research on citrus fruits suggests that they may help prevent esophageal cancer and reduce the incidence of stroke among females.

Learn more about diet and cancer risk here.

Vitamin C rich

Citrus fruits are an excellent source of vitamin C. For example, a medium mandarin orange provides 31% of an adult female’s daily vitamin C requirement and 27% of a male’s requirement.

Because cooking can destroy vitamin C, the best way to get the most nutritional benefit from a mandarin is to eat them raw.

Some people may be at risk of vitamin C deficiency. These groups include smokers, people with malabsorption and chronic diseases, and limited food variety. Adding a mandarin orange to the daily diet is an easy way to consume beneficial vitamin C.

Learn more about other food sources of vitamin C here.

Refrigerator temperatures may alter the flavor, so it is best to store them outside the refrigerator in a cool place at 60–70˚F for up to 1 week. However, it is OK to keep them in the fridge, particularly if a person wants to keep them for more than a few weeks.

Additionally, a person can try freezing Mandarins. To do this, they should peel the fruit and remove all the membranes before separating them into smaller pieces. Then, place the segments in a single layer into a container or freezer bag and store them in the freezer.

Furthermore, people can blend or juice their mandarins and store them in the refrigerator for a day or two.

Mandarin oranges vary in color and flavor. They are easy to peel and last for 1–2 weeks in a cool place. People can also keep them for longer in the refrigerator or freezer.

The fruits have relatively thin skin that may puncture easily, so people must treat them carefully.

Mandarins are a good source of vitamin C and phytonutrients and have antioxidant and anti-inflammatory benefits.

In addition, some research suggests citrus fruits may help to prevent some cancers and other chronic diseases.