Share this post

Fresh Things Video: The Difference Between a Mandarin and an Orange

Hi, I’m Chef Dan, and one of the questions I get asked all the time is: “What is the difference between a Mandarin and an orange?”

Well, there’s a few differences

They’re both in the citrus family, and they both have that wonderful bright slightly acidic sweetness. Mandarins are smaller than regular oranges. Typically much easier to peel, in fact they’re often referred to as “Zipper Oranges”.

They get their name from where they originated–the first mandarins were actually discovered in China, and they got their name because the orange skin of the mandarins resembled the coats that the courtesans wore in ancient China. Clementines may be the most famous and most well-known of the mandarins but there are several others:  Murcott mandarins, Satsumas, Fall Glow tangerines… there’s many.


freshpoint-produce-The Difference Between a Mandarin and an Orange
Have you ever had a Satsuma mandarin? They are like citrus candy. AND they are easy to peel!



In 1902, Clementine was discovered in Algeria as a natural cross between the tangerine and the bitter Seville orange, which is interesting because there’s no bitterness in this wonderful little piece of fruit.


Mandarins are always smaller than regular oranges.

They feel spongy, is it bad?

So I said “zipper skin”, when you feel the Clementine, it may feel a little spongy, you may think it’s a little over ripe when it’s actually perfect. The skin just doesn’t attach to the segments. You can pop your thumb in the bottom and literally zip the skin right out. The segments are easily removed and utilized.

Christmas orange

For a long time these were thought of as Christmas oranges simply because their availability was from late November and into January.




Clementines are in season domestically from November to April, rotating through varietals during those months. During other times of the year, sourcing shifts to South America, Spain and North Africa, making them available more or less all year.

Content provided by Chef Daniel Snowden, the Director of Culinary Development for FreshPoint Central Florida. He has been in the produce industry years almost 20 years, and loves getting geeky about food. Follow FreshPoint Central Florida on Facebook and Instagram.



Some tools you can use:

Visit for our seasonal availability guides—and while you are there, check out the FreshPress, our latest market report. Place your orders online with ease at Did you know you can receive real-time reliable delivery alerts on the day of your delivery? Activate and subscribe at

Download our app and take your produce management on the go. Place orders, review flyers, watch videos…all in one spot!

Find out more details about our UBU program, and how we are shining a spotlight on food waste while making value and food safety a priority.

We buy local to strengthen regional economies, support family farms, preserve the local landscape, and to provide fresh-from-the-farm food to our customers. connects you to your local farmers like never before! Customize your search by zip, city, state, radius…even by crops and growing methods. Pop in your zip code and learn about our local farmers.

Socialize with us!

Did you know we are on YouTube? Head over to our page and check out our 75+ videos. Don’t forget to subscribe, and also be a part of our Bell Team—hit the little bell icon to get notifications when we upload new videos.

Follow FreshPoint, Inc. on FacebookTwitterInstagram, and LinkedIn…and follow The Produce Hunter on Instagram as she finds the best specialty produce at the Santa Monica Farmers Market.