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Fairchild tangerines are a small to medium-sized varietal, averaging 5 to 7 centimeters in diameter, and have a round to oblate shape with a flattened top and bottom and broad center. The tangerine's rind is semi-smooth and textured, covered in pitted oil glands giving the surface a pebbled, sometimes leathery feel. The rind also ripens from yellow-orange to a vibrant dark orange. Fairchild tangerines are challenging to peel in their early season as the rind clings tightly to the flesh. In the late season, the tangerines are easier to peel by hand. Underneath the surface, the flesh is divided into 12 to 13 segments by thin, yellow-orange membranes. The bright orange flesh is firm, tender, and aqueous with a succulent, fine-textured, pulpy consistency. The flesh also encases many oval ivory seeds, ranging from 6 to 25 per fruit. Fairchild tangerines have relatively low acidity, creating a sweet, subtly tangy flavor. The tangerines have a rich, bright, and refreshing nature, and the sweetest fruits are harvested in their late season, ripening on the tree for maximum flavor.
Fairchild tangerines are available in the late fall through winter. In some climates, the tangerines can be stored through the early spring.
Fairchild tangerines, botanically classified as Citrus reticulata, are a hybrid variety belonging to the Rutaceae family. The early to mid-season cultivar was developed in the late 20th century and was selected as a commercial variety for its flavor, appearance, and cultivation traits. Fairchild tangerines are often referred to as the "first of the season" tangerines as they arrive at commercial markets before many other popular varieties. The tangerines can also hang onto the tree well into the spring, showcasing opportunities for an extended season. Growers favor Fairchild tangerines for their vigorous nature and exhibit a wide-spreading habit, a popular home garden cultivar. In the present-day, Fairchild tangerines are planted throughout desert regions of California and Arizona. The variety is favored for fresh eating, cooked preparations, and infusion into various beverages.
Fairchild tangerines are a source of vitamin C to strengthen the immune system, potassium to balance fluid levels within the body, and magnesium to control optimal nerve functioning. The tangerines also provide vitamin A to maintain healthy organ functioning, folate to develop DNA, fiber to regulate the digestive tract, and other nutrients, including iron, calcium, and carotenoids like lutein and zeaxanthin.
Fairchild tangerines have a rich, sweet, and subtly tangy flavor suited for fresh and cooked preparations. The variety is popularly eaten out of hand and can be segmented, deseeded, and tossed into salads or fruit bowls. Fairchild tangerines can also be segmented and dipped in chocolate, chopped into salsa, served on appetizer platters, or stirred into grain dishes. In addition to fresh preparations, Fairchild tangerines can be simmered into jams, other preserves, syrups, and glazes. They can also be cooked into a sweet sauce to complement meat dishes, infused into marinades to impart a light, citrusy flavor, or blended into dressings for salads, bowls, and seafood. Try whipping tangerine juice in crème fraiche or combining the juice into crème brulee as a unique variation. Fairchild tangerine flesh and zest can also be incorporated into scones, shortbread, muffins, cookies, pancakes, and other baked goods, or the rind can be candied as a sweet, sugary treat. Beyond culinary dishes, Fairchild tangerines are utilized for their juice and are frozen and blended into sorbets and gelato, added to smoothies, mixed into sparkling beverages, or stirred into cocktails as a bright addition. Fairchild tangerines are also canned for extended use. Fairchild tangerines pair well with herbs such as rosemary, mint, cilantro, and basil, avocado, arugula, cheeses including feta, goat, and alpine, spices such as cinnamon, cloves, ginger, and cardamom, and fruits including figs, apples, bananas, and cranberries. Whole, unwashed, and unpeeled Fairchild tangerines will keep for a couple of days at room temperature and up to one week when stored in the refrigerator.
Almost ninety percent of the citrus cultivated in California is produced in Riverside, Kern, Fresno, Ventura, and Tulare counties. Fairchild tangerines were created in Indio, California, a city within the Colorado Desert region in Riverside County. Riverside has a rich history in preserving and promoting citrus production. The Southern California county was flooded with citrus growers in the early 1900s, marking what historians call the "second Gold Rush," and a wide array of lemons, oranges, and grapefruit orchards were planted for increased commercial production. Riverside County is still home to citrus growers, and the county is most notably famous for the California Citrus State Historic Park. The park was opened in 1993 and was established as a living museum, stretching across 247 acres of land. Most of the park is open to the public; offering guided tours of a citrus museum, commercial orange groves, and an orchard filled with 85 citrus species. The park hopes to bring awareness to the diverse citrus varieties and aims to continue conducting research to prevent the spread of destructive citrus diseases. In addition to the portion of the park open to the public, an orchard known as the "Noah's Ark of citrus" is rumored to have two of each species of citrus in existence. There are over 2,600 species of citrus worldwide, and the "Noah's Ark orchard of citrus" is run by UC Riverside, housing varieties, including Fairchild tangerines. This orchard is not open to the public and is heavily protected to prevent the trees from being infected by known viruses.
Fairchild tangerines were developed in Indio, California, at the United States Date and Citrus Station, a research facility that has since been closed. The variety was created from a cross performed by breeder J.R. Furr using Algerian clementines and Orlando tangelos. Fairchild tangerines were released to commercial markets in 1964 and became a popular cultivar among growers in California and Arizona. The winter variety is often sold under the general moniker of tangerine or mandarin, and it is sometimes marketed with the stem and leaves attached, a symbolic fruit for Lunar New Year celebrations. In 1997, Fairchild tangerines were used to create the improved variety FairchildLS, a variety with low seeds, a larger size, and easier to peel nature. Today Fairchild tangerines are found primarily in the United States and are grown in California, Arizona, and Florida. When in season, the variety is offered through farmer's markets, specialty distributors, and select grocers. Fairchild tangerines are also grown in home gardens.
Recipes that include Fairchild Tangerines. One is easiest, three is harder.
|Saving Dinner||Mandarin Orange Teriyaki Chicken Salad|