Satsumas

Satsumas

For many people the smell of citrus with a tint of cinnamon is a smell of Christmas. It is traditional to put a satsuma into the stockings by the fireplace. Christmas is also time for eating. After you’ve had your rich and fatty dinner, you might sit down in front of a television and decide that it’s time for a few nibbles. How about healthy nibbles then? Dig out that very Satsuma from the bottom of the Christmas and enjoy.

1) Mandarin orange includes several varieties of citrus fruit, including the Mandarin (China), Tangerine (named for Tangier, Morocco), Clementine and Satsuma (Japan). They vary in size, sweetness, and whether they have seeds or not, but they all have loose skins that slip off easily. It is thin and somewhat leathery; moderately smooth with large and prominent oil glands. As fruit matures, the skin surface becomes increasingly bumpy and the separates from the flesh somewhat. Satsumas have consistently high quality only in regions with cool winters and hot summers.

2) Although it is often thought that satsumas come from Japan, they have originated in China. Nowadays, however, they are largely grown in Japan. Satsumas were introduced in North America in 1876. The name is credited to the wife of the United States minister to Japan. She sent trees to her home country from the Japan province called Satsuma.

3) When picking satsumas, remember that loose and puffy skins do not indicate quality. Choose fruits that seem heavy for their size, they will contain more juice. Avoid fruits with damaged skins. Mandarins do not keep as long as other citrus fruits but can be stored in a cooler for up to one week. They should be stored between 7-10°C (45° - 50° F) and at high humidity.

4) Two satsumas make one of your five-a-day and supply more than a third of the recommended daily allowance of vitamin C. They are also a great source of folic acid, which can reduce the risk of heart disease. In fact, it was discovered that people who eat several satsumas a day can reduce the risk of heart disease by about 9% as well as the risk of diabetes. In addition, clementines improve appetite and digestion. Another great thing about satsumas is that they contain practically no fat (approximately 0.3g per 2 medium fruits).

5) It is undeniable that satsumas are full of natural goodness. However, they are that good for those people who suffer from citrus fruit allergy. In this case it is advisable to stay away from satsumas and derive the same nutrients from alternative sources. If you are not sure whether you have citrus allergy or not, here are the symptoms: ulcers inside the mouth, tongue and lips, constriction of the throat due to swelling, tingling sensation in the mouth, rashes of various parts of the body, watery and itchy eyes, vomiting, diarrhea, respiratory complications and cramps in the abdominal region. If you suspect that you have citrus allergy because the symptoms usually gets out every time you eat citrus fruits then you must avoid eating this type of fruits. If it is unavoidable, peeling off the skin might help to decrease the chances of strong allergic reaction.

6) Everyone is so used to finding a satsuma in their Christmas stockings that not many people actually pause to think why those fruits are there. As the legend has it, Saint Nicholas was very fond of giving people presents. Once, a kindly nobleman who had three daughters lost a wife and all his fortune. When it came time for the daughters to marry, none of them could find a good match, because at the time the only way a woman could marry was if she had a dowry. One night after the daughters washed their clothes, hung their stockings by the fire to dry and went to bed. That night Saint Nicholas decided to help the family. He took three small bags of gold coins and threw them down the chimney one by one. Each of the bags landed in the stockings. There was enough gold for daughters to get married, which they successfully did. The word spread about of this through all the village and people started to hang their stockings by the fire and hope that Saint Nicholas would leave something for them. From this was born the legend of Santa coming down the chimney and placing gifts in children's Christmas Stockings. People believe that an orange in the toe of Christmas stockings symbolize the lump of gold Saint Nicholas left for the girls.

7) Hot Citrus Salad
Ingredients: 2 oranges, 1 lime, 1 grapefruit, 2 satsumas, 1 pomelo, 50g of sugar, ginger root sliced in strips, mint for decoration
Directions: Remove zest from all fruits and cut several into narrow strips. They are to be used later. Make sure there is no zest or white skin left. Cut the fruits into the deep bowl (in order to preserve juice). Remove all membranes. Mix 50g of water, sugar and ginger and boil. Simmer on the low heat for another minute, add stripes of zest. Wait another minute. Add the fruits into the syrup and boil. Decorate with mint leaves.

In any case clementines make a great winter dessert, great for fruit salads and a delicious addition to the fried meat. Finally, just 3-4 clementines can replenish a substance that is highly deficient during winter – vitamin C.

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