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Amanatsu oranges are medium to large, similar in size to a navel orange or grapefruit, and are globular to oblate in shape. The orange-yellow rind is smooth, leathery, fragrant, and covered in prominent oil glands giving the surface a pebbly appearance. Underneath the rind, there is a semi-thick white pith that is spongy and easily peeled. The flesh is soft, orange, divided into 10-12 segments, and contains many cream-colored seeds. Amanatsu oranges are aromatic and have a sweet and sour flavor.
Amanatsu oranges are available in Japan in the late spring through summer.
Amanatsu oranges, botanically classified as Citrus natsudaidai, are a sour hybrid variety that belongs to the Rutaceae or citrus family. Also known as the Japanese Summer orange, Natsudaidai, and Natsumikan, Amanatsu oranges are believed to be a hybrid of a pomelo and sour orange and are native to Japan. Amanatsu oranges can be extremely sour and are typically harvested and stored for a short period before they are consumed. This storage period reduces the acid within the flesh creating a sweet-tart flavor. Favored for their bright flavor and fragrant zest, Amanatsu oranges are often used fresh and are a staple ingredient in Japanese cooking.
Amanatsu oranges are an excellent source of vitamin C and potassium and are a good source of folate, niacin, magnesium, and vitamin B1.
Amanatsu oranges are best suited for fresh eating, and the juice and zest are also used to flavor cooked applications. The rind is easily peeled, and the flesh can be divided into segments as a stand-alone snack. The fruit can be juiced and makes a refreshing beverage that can be used for cocktails, wine, or blended with other citrus juices. Amanatsu oranges are also used for making marmalade, ice cream, sherbets, and the rind is often candied. In Japan, individual segments are removed from their pith and served in a clear jelly. Amanatsu oranges pair well with poultry, fish, sashimi, asparagus, green beans, dark leafy greens, mushrooms, rice, noodles, almonds, peanuts, and walnuts. The fruits will keep 2-4 weeks when stored in the refrigerator.
In Japan, citrus was traditionally used for fresh eating and as a light compliment to salt in flavoring dishes, but there has been a recent culinary renewal where local farmers are teaming up with other residents to create new artisanal citrus-based foods, drinks, confections, and condiments. In Kyoto, the Ichijoji Brewery has a beer called the Amanatsu Orange Ale which contains the citrus’s bright, tangy, and fruity taste. In the Saga prefecture on the island of Kabe, resident Megumi Yamaguchi makes a jelly out of Amanatsu oranges that has greatly increased in popularity both among the locals and visitors. The dessert is called 'Yobuko Yume Amanatsu Jelly' and is served like a pudding in the rind of the citrus fruit. In Osaka, Amanatsu picking is a popular family activity in the spring and early summer, attracting tourists and locals alike.
Amanatsu oranges were discovered growing in Yamaguchi prefecture of Japan around 1740 and are still mainly grown in Yamaguchi, Kumamoto, and Ehime prefectures today. Today Amanatsu oranges are not commercially grown outside of Japan and are localized to markets and specialty citrus farms in Japan.
Recipes that include Amanatsu Oranges. One is easiest, three is harder.
|Mile High Mitts||Orange Carrot Oat Muffins|
|NHK World Japan||Sashimi Platter|
|Two Cups Flour||Orange Ginger Honey Cakes|