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Tangerines, oranges, clementines and satsumas look very similar at first glance. However, did you know that the individual fruits are characterized by small but subtle differences? We'll tell you how to tell the citrus fruits apart!


Mandarins (Citrus reticulata) are not just fruits per se, but also represent a supergroup of citrus fruits. Because many of them are hybrids and from one crossing from tangerines and other citrus fruits. The tangerines themselves originally come from China or north-east India and have only been around since 19th century Europe native. The Citrus reticulata is still mostly grown in China, but also in Spain, Morocco, Egypt and Turkey, among others.

  • Latin name: Citrus reticulata
  • Origin: China/ Northeast India
  • Harvest: autumn
  • commercially available: October to January


Tangerines look like little oranges because they are plump and dark orange colored. Their skin is a little thicker, but it can be separated from the flesh very easily. This is due to the so-called "looseness"Because there is a narrow cavity between the skin and the flesh. This increases as the fruit ripens, making it easier to peel ripe fruit. If the shell is removed, it shows fixed and edible pulp. This is mostly in nine fruit segments divided, which can be detached from each other and eaten.

  • Fruit shape: round
  • Fruit color: dark orange
  • Cores: yes

taste and use

Tangerines are edible and are characterized by a rather sour taste out. They are ideal for snacking between meals, but can also be processed further. The tangerine is particularly good in salads and desserts. She is also extreme healthy and provides a lot of vitamin C. And as if that weren't enough, it doesn't even hit the scales at just 50 calories per 100 grams.

  • Flavor: intense and sour
  • rich in vitamin C
  • lasts about 2 weeks

notice: The tangerine peel is not commonly consumed, but can be used to extract tangerine essential oil.


The clementine (Citrus × clementina) is a crossing of tangerine and bitter orange (Pomeranian). In contrast to the tangerine, the clementine does not come from China, but from the Mediterranean. There she is said to have been discovered by the French Trappist monk Frère Clément. However, it could well be that clementines were known in China earlier. To this day, they are mainly used in Southern Europe cultivated, which is why it has a relatively short way to us in the trade.

  • Latin name: Citrus × clementina
  • Origin: Mediterranean

notice: The clementine is the best-selling mandarine variety.


Visually, the clementine is very similar to the tangerine, but there are a few subtle differences: the clementine is usually a little greater and not quite round, but rather elliptical. There is also a small hump at the base of the stem. The skin of the clementine is somewhat thicker and more robust, which is why the fruit is more resistant to cold and pressure. This in turn is also reflected in the shelf life noticeable, because the fruits can be kept for up to two months.

  • Fruit shape: rather elliptical
  • Fruit color: yellow-orange
  • Cores: few to none

taste and use

In terms of taste, the clementine is fruity-sweet described as having a sweet and sour aroma. Although it is not quite as aromatic as the tangerine, it is also not as acidic as the latter. Furthermore, the clementine is characterized by its special juicy pulp that is best eaten raw. It is suitable both as a snack between meals and as an addition to salads and desserts. Gourmets also refine poultry and game dishes with the citrus fruit.

  • Taste: fruity-sweet
  • Flavor: sweet and sour


The Satsuma (Citrus unshiu) is a cross between tangerine and orange. It probably comes from Japan and grows on trees around two to five meters high. It has only been widespread in Europe since the 19th century, but is still widespread today compared to other citrus fruits rather unknown. Satsumas are also often referred to as "seedless tangerines" because one of the differences to the tangerine is that they no cores contain.

  • Latin name: Citrus unshiu
  • Origin: probably Japan

notice: The Satsuma has a high tolerance to low temperatures, which is why it is of great importance for commercial cultivation.


At first glance, there are no clear differences between tangerines and satsumas. Because even the satsuma is plump and orange coloured, although it is usually a little lighter. The actual differences only become apparent when you peel the fruit, because the peel is a bit thinner and the flesh is a little thinner seedless.

  • Fruit shape: round, flattened
  • Fruit color: light orange
  • Cores: none

taste and use

The taste of satsumas is similar to that of clementines, but is usually a little sweeter. The fruits are very juicy, but less aromatic. Satsuma tastes best when eaten fresh. However, due to its seedless nature, it is also ideal for the production of canned tangerines. The satsuma is a particularly healthy fruit that contains few calories and a lot of vitamin C. Incidentally, the latter is twice as high as that of clementines!

  • Taste: usually a little sweeter
  • Aroma: not so intense
  • about 2 months shelf life


The orange (Citrus x sinensis) comes from China or Southeast Asia and is a cross between Tangerine and grapefruit. Incidentally, the bitter orange also originated from the same parent species, but this has clear differences to the conventional, sweet orange. In general, oranges are five subgroups divided into acid-free oranges and bitter, navel, blood and blond oranges. The Citrus × sinensis L can be found all over the world today and is the most widely grown citrus fruit in the world.

  • Latin name: Citrus x sinensis
  • Origin: China or Southeast Asia

notice: The main season for oranges runs from November to May, but the citrus fruits are mostly available all year round.


Oranges are round and significantly larger than tangerines and the like. Their skin is somewhat thicker, which is why the fruit is often more difficult to peel. The individual orange varieties also differ in terms of their appearance, for example the blood orange is significantly darker and has a reddish flesh.

  • Fruit shape: round
  • Fruit color: orange or reddish
  • Cores: yes

taste and use

are oranges very juicy and are often described as fruity and refreshing. Their taste is usually sweet and less sour, but there are also differences within the individual orange varieties. Blood oranges tend to be slightly more acidic, while the non-acidic orange tastes significantly sweeter. Oranges are best eaten raw, but they are also suitable as part of desserts and exotic meat and fish dishes. Freshly squeezed orange juice is also particularly tasty and healthy!

  • Taste: juicy
  • fruity and refreshing

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