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MandaRosa® mandarins are slightly larger than common mandarin varieties and have a round to ovate shape. The skin is semi-thin and easy-to-peel, exhibiting a vibrant orange hue, sometimes blushed with faint red patches. The skin also has a glossy, smooth, and lightly pebbled texture due to the presence of many small pores that release aromatic oils. Underneath the surface, the flesh is aqueous, soft, and seedless, divided into 10 to 12 segments. One distinct feature of MandaRosa® mandarins is their variegated flesh. The primary flesh color is orange, but depending on the maturity of the fruit and growing conditions, it can also be flushed with deep hues of red and purple. MandaRosa® mandarins have a bright, rich, and balanced, sweet-tart flavor with tangy notes of berries.
MandaRosa® mandarins are available for a very limited season in the mid-winter through early spring.
MandaRosa® mandarins are a new hybrid variety that botanically belongs to the Rutaceae family. The late-season cultivar was developed in Italy from a cross between a tarocco blood orange and a clementine and is the result of years of breeding to create the first patented and naturally pigmented seedless mandarin. MandaRosa® mandarins are also known as a Mandared variety, and the name MandaRosa® stems from the word “rosa,” which means “pink” in Italian, a nod to the fruit’s colored flesh. MandaRosa® mandarins have been present in Italy under the name Mandared since the early 21st century, but the variety was just recently introduced to American markets under MandaRosa® at the beginning of 2020. MandaRosa® mandarins are only available for a short season and are considered a specialty variety, sold exclusively through the Pro Citrus Network based in California.
MandaRosa® mandarins are an excellent source of vitamin C, which is an antioxidant that can help reduce inflammation, boost the immune system, and encourage collagen production within the skin. The fruits also contain fiber to stimulate digestion and provide potassium, calcium, copper, and iron. The dark, pigmented hues found throughout the flesh indicate that the fruits contain anthocyanins, which contribute anti-inflammatory and anti-bacterial properties to assist in the overall health of the body.
MandaRosa® mandarins are best suited for fresh applications as their pigmented flesh and sweet, balanced flavor is showcased when eaten straight, out-of-hand. The fruits can be peeled, segmented, and displayed on appetizer plates, tossed into green salads, or mixed into fruit bowls. The segments can also be dipped in chocolate as a sweet snack or dessert, chopped into fruit salsas, or used as a topping over ice cream and cakes. In addition to the flesh, the juice of MandaRosa® mandarins can be incorporated into cocktails and punches or used to flavor baked goods, sauces, glazes, and dressings. The fruits can also be zested to add a bright flavor on roasted vegetables or thinly sliced and utilized as a garnish on the edge of glasses. MandaRosa® mandarins pair well with meats such as pork, poultry, and fish, Brussel sprouts, carrots, mushrooms, tomatoes, herbs such as rosemary, basil, and mint, prosecco, honey, and soft cheeses such as mozzarella. The fruit will keep up to two weeks when stored in the refrigerator.
MandaRosa® mandarins were given the MMG Citrus Innovation Award in 2014 in recognition of the fruit’s outstanding genetic characteristics. The MMG Citrus Innovation Award is an annual title appointed by the Fresca Group, which is one of the largest produce suppliers in the United Kingdom. The purpose of the award is to recognize quality, new cultivars that are products of modern innovation and sustainable breeding techniques. Before the award was given, MandaRosa® mandarins had been recently introduced into Great Britain, where they saw immediate success for the fruit’s multi-colored hues, sweet-tart flavor, and seedless flesh. The judges for the award took note of the variety’s rapid success and recognized the years of natural breeding and research that it took to create the new fruit.
MandaRosa® mandarins were created in Sicily, Italy, at the Citrus Breeding Institute and were the result of years of natural breeding. The research trials were conducted primarily by breeders Santo Recupero, Giuseppe Reforgiato Recupero, and Giuseppe Russo in Italy from 1985 to 2004, and the variety was created from the nules clementine and the tarocco blood orange. The red-fleshed mandarins were first introduced to Italian markets in the early 21st century under the Mandared name, and are the only patented, pigmented mandarin variety. The variety also became a luxury, exported item, sent to other European countries, including Great Britain, Norway, and Germany. Years later, the Citrus Breeding Institute partnered with breeders in California to grow the mandarins in the United States, and the first crop of MandaRosa® mandarins was released at the beginning of 2020. MandaRosa® mandarins are exclusively marketed through the Pro Citrus Network, and the fruits can be found through select retailers across the United States.