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Everybody Wins in this Citrus Showdown

By Elizabeth Leader Smith, November 30, 2012  |  Meet the Blogger  |  More Posts by Elizabeth Leader Smith

Citrus ShowdownUPDATE: Thanks to everyone that entered! Congratulations to our winners: Richard S., Brett H., Brenda S., Toni F., Eunice L., The Dickersons, Brian H., Julie B., Isabel M., and Sarah M.

It may be the most wonderfully delicious time of the year – that’s how the song goes, right? – but it’s also becoming the coldest and darkest time of the year too.

That’s why I’m grateful for seasonal citrus. Despite common beliefs, winter is the time for citrus. From tangy Satsumas to tart limes to juicy Tangelos, peak of the season citrus adds flavor bursts to salads, cocktails, baked goods, sauces, vinaigrettes and more. You could say it not only brightens your dishes but your days. Thank you, Mother Nature!


This season we’ve got a battle of epic flavor featuring two of our favorite citrus superstars – Satsuma v Clementine – and we need your help to pick the season’s champion.


In this corner: Clementine “Main Squeeze”

Clementines are the most well-known mandarin, and for good reason. They are seedless, easy to peel and perfect for both kids and adults.

Flavor: Simple and delightfully sweet with a less acidic finish

Character: Flatter shape, tight leathery rind

Origins: California, Spain and Morocco

Uses: These are perfect for eating out of hand. The mild sweetness pairs well with other simple flavors. Use juice instead of water in baking for extra citrus flavor. Add chopped sections or zest to salads, cookies and granola. They are great for giving as gifts too!

In this corner: Satsuma “The Puma”
Think of Satsuma as clementine’s lively cousin; they’re seedless and easy to peel but bolder in flavor. Gaining quickly in popularity, their peak season is just six to eight weeks, so get ‘em while you can…then enjoy soon after purchase because they’re best when eaten right away!

Flavor: Intense, tangy and sweet with a bright and lively finish

Character: Thinner, loose rind, distinct “top knot”  

Origins: California and Florida

Uses: The bold taste is perfect for adding extra zip to recipes. The peel is delicate and packed with flavor — to zest, peel with a vegetable peeler first, then chop finely. Add sections, juice or zest to desserts, mixed drinks and salads. They’re delicious eaten out of hand too.

Take some home and do a taste test with friends and family. Enjoy them straight out of the peel try them in these recipes that put citrus in the limelight.


CitrusBesides cooking with citrus, here are a few more of my favorite ways to use every last bit of these winter gems.

  • Zest it. Add zing to baked goods, stir-fries or stews. 
  • Juice it. What could be better than a fresh glass of juice in the morning?
  • Dry it. Bake peels on the lowest possible heat until dry but still pliable. Use to flavor black tea, roasted chicken or braised meats.
  • Freeze it. Freeze citrus juice or zest until you’re ready to use it.
  • Candy it. Garnish desserts and cocktails with candied peels or enjoy them as a sweet snack.

Don’t limit citrus to the kitchen either. Citrus can successfully be incorporated into your holidays in many ways  - think table arrangements, homemade ornaments, and gifts like a basket of whole citrus or jar of citrus salt.

Do you clamor for clementines or are you sweet on Satsumas? Tell us which one is your citrus champion and why in the comments below. Enter your comment by Wednesday, December 12 and we’ll pick ten winners at random to receive a case of their citrus champion of choice – clementines or Satsumas

The fine print: No purchase necessary. Promotion ends December 12, 2012, 11:59 PM CDT. Must be a legal resident of the US or Canada (except in Quebec, where it is void) age 18 or older to participate. Taxes on prize, if applicable, are the responsibility of the winner. Employees of Whole Foods Market, Inc., are not eligible. Void where prohibited.




toni says ...
Satsumas all the way!!!
11/30/2012 7:01:27 AM CST
Jennifer M. says ...
My citrus champion is the clementine. Love to stick one in my bag and boys lunches and peel and enjoy that sweet citrus flavor
11/30/2012 10:10:07 AM CST
Heather Weber says ...
Thank you for the recipe ideas! We have been loving the satsumas lately.
11/30/2012 10:10:50 AM CST
Laura K says ...
I like the texture of satsumas best, but clementine zest is better for cooking with.
11/30/2012 10:11:43 AM CST
amy williams says ...
I love clementines. They are so small and easy to peel.
11/30/2012 10:12:59 AM CST
elizabeth vanderesch says ...
Oh my darling Clementine! These gems are gone almost as soon as these gems come through the front door of our home. They are tasty, easy to peel, just the right amount of tart and, oh boy, they smell wonderfully California-y!
11/30/2012 10:13:37 AM CST
Jackie Misa says ...
11/30/2012 10:13:51 AM CST
Heather says ...
I am going to have to choose the clementine, for the same reason I now choose the Meyer lemon - my sweet tooth has all control. :) I would rather swallow my sweet tooth than pucker up with sour disdain. Plus, the lower acidity and ease of peeling truly make this a hands down win for the almighty clementine!
11/30/2012 10:14:38 AM CST
Maeve Connor says ...
I LOOOOVE clementines, but I've never had a satsuma, so I'd love to try them out!
11/30/2012 10:15:06 AM CST
Stephanie Kubala says ...
11/30/2012 10:15:21 AM CST
Laura Ellis says ...
Satsuma! So easy to peel and what a zest!
11/30/2012 10:15:40 AM CST
Dana Remaley says ...
We like satsumas better....they are easier for the kids to peel themselves and we think sweeter. My kids could eat 25# of theses babies!!
11/30/2012 10:16:23 AM CST
Kevin says ...
Satsumas are wonderful for eating. When I brought a few to the office last year, everyone around me smelled them and joined it. Several trips later, everyone was in love and then the season ended. They are also perfect for an orange simple syrup used in a fabulous Old Fashioned.
11/30/2012 10:18:22 AM CST
tammy shelton says ...
My sweet favorite is "Clementines" because they are just "Darling"... Oh My!
11/30/2012 10:18:37 AM CST
martha nezgoda says ...
Don't have a favorite..like a child...each has it uniqueness...would miss either terribly if one disappeared from my life!!! My favorite part is how easy they are to bring along with you small ....and so easy to peel...just pop a few sections at a time in your mouth...yum!!!
11/30/2012 10:18:56 AM CST
Mrs. Cox says ...
Satsumas, hands down! As a kid there would always be one at the foot of our stockings on Christmas morning. :)
11/30/2012 10:19:57 AM CST
Beth says ...
Clementines are my quick, grab and go snack. Probably partial to them since they were a favorite of my dad's too. It's one of those "kitchen memories".
11/30/2012 10:20:33 AM CST
Kerri Hernandez says ...
We LOVE Clementines! My husband is very busy and is NOT a morning person. Clementines are a perfect wake-me-up breakfast on the go for him, and a quick addition to my lunch bag! We would love a case and put it to great use!
11/30/2012 10:20:59 AM CST
Donna Tingle says ...
I have to vote for Clementine. I've never seen a satsuma in the stores in my area yet. I learned about them from my European husband :)
11/30/2012 10:21:24 AM CST
Mike Barzacchini says ...
Great post. Lots of good recipe ideas. Confession -- I regularly buy, eat and enjoy Clementines, but have not tried Satsumas. Very interested to do so, though. So, my choice for the "citrus smack-off" is Clementines!
11/30/2012 10:21:42 AM CST
Alicia says ...
The clementine is my favorite! They peel so very easily and are the perfect snack size. Their sweetness and firm juicy texture is lovely on cold winter days and the tangy tart tasty always makes me smile. I've never gotten to try a satsuma, sadly, but I certainly want to now!
11/30/2012 10:22:33 AM CST
Yvonne F says ...
I love the Satsuma “The Puma”! The bold taste is delightful!
11/30/2012 10:23:21 AM CST
Michelle says ...
I did not know there was a difference. I have purchased both beleiving they were both types of clementines as advertised. I would have to say my family's favorite is the Satsumas though. Their tartness is a wonderful burst of freshness on your taste buds in the cold winter months. They also make wonderful healthy stocking stuffers.
11/30/2012 10:25:25 AM CST
Nina Kim says ...
Of course Satsuma! With those beautiful leaves and plump fruits they are the best. I love seeing boxes of satsuma at whole foods !
11/30/2012 10:25:55 AM CST
Eva Wong says ...
Clementines are my favorite because they're easy to pop one into my purse, super sweet, and easy to peel. They're also a great alternative to candy for the kids!
11/30/2012 10:26:32 AM CST