The Mighty Mandarin

The mandarin orange may be small, but it sure packs a healthy punch!  There are many types of mandarin oranges – the most popular being tangerines, tangelos and Clementines.  And what’s so great about mandarins?

In addition to being sweet and tasty, they are super easy to peel and the perfect size to take with you when on the go for a quick snack.  But wait – there’s more to these mighty midgets than meets the eye.  Just look at some of the benefits you can reap from the mandarin of your choice:

  • Their calcium and phosphorus combined helps build and protect bones.
  • Loaded with antioxidants to help reduce bad cholesterol and promote good cholesterol.
  • Helps promote healthy skin.
  • Adds a boost to your immune system.
  • Good source of Vitamin C and E.
  • Contains dietary fiber.

Some folks even considered them to be good luck, and often gave them as gifts.  With all those health benefits, I guess they could, indeed, bring good luck!

Instead of squeezing traditional oranges for your morning blast of OJ, give mandarins a try.  I think you’ll enjoy their slightly different orangey flavor.  Try several varieties and brands to find your favorite.  Then keep a bag in your fridge to use for fresh juice.  Also use them in smoothies or add them to yogurt.

Here’s a few more easy diverse ways to get the most out of mandarins.

REFRESHING DRINK:  Add a splash of Grenadine to a glass of your mandarin juice.  Optional:  top with a splash of seltzer water.

COCKTAIL:  Use the above recipe and add a dash of orange bitters and a shot of Vodka  (with or without seltzer water).  Make it fancy:  Add a spear of mandarin orange wedge, chunk of pineapple and maraschino cherry as a garnish.

MANDARIN SALAD:  Add fresh mandarin orange segments to your favorite mixed salad greens.  Then add sliced water chestnuts, chopped scallions, chopped peanuts (or almonds) and toss with your favorite Asian dressing.  Optional:  top with leftover shredded chicken.  My personal dressing pick:  Trader Joe’s Asian Style Spicy Peanut Vinaigrette.

ICE CREAM TOPPING:  Grab your favorite vanilla ice cream and top it with your favorite chocolate syrup and diced mandarins.  Chocolate and orange go great together!  OPTIONAL: add chopped walnuts.

Spring and summer will be here before we know it!  Serve up some cool and refreshing mandarin juice or mandarin cocktails – and by the way, mandarin oranges are also great in Sangria!

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