Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Harvesting Satsuma Mandarins

Satsuma Mandarins are the last crop of the year that I harvest from my garden.  Commercial satsumas are usually available in early late November or early December but mine take a little longer to ripen.  I don’t know if it’s the variety but I’m guessing it has more to do with the cold weather.  I harvested these on January 1st.
I love Satsumas, they’re my favorite citrus.  They’re low acid, easy to peel and take apart, and they don’t have seeds!  I can eat 3 or 4 of these little gems a day.

We only harvested about 30 oranges this year but my tree is still very small.

Satsumas have been grown in Japan for over a thousand years, before they came to the US in the late 1800’s. They’re self fertile, so you don’t need to plant more than one tree.  All you need are some bees to move the pollen around.  Satsumas prefer a sunny location but can handle temperatures down to 26.˚  It rarely gets that cold here, so they do well.  
Aside from the obvious vitamin C content of oranges, the peel also has medicinal uses.  In traditional Chinese medicine, the peel has been used to enhance digestion and reduce phlem.  It’s also used in the regulation of Ch’i.

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