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What the Heck Is a Satsuma?

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What the Heck Is a Satsuma?

Ever try a satsuma? Chances are, you have, but you may not have realized it.

Satsumas, which take their name from the region in Japan where they were traditionally grown, are small, sweet, seedless citrus fruits. They are members of the mandarin orange family, along with clementines, tangerines, and other popular varieties. In fact, they can be hard to distinguish from the others, aside from the fact that, unlike tangerines, satsumas are always seedless.

The fruit features a thin, leathery skin that is relatively easy to peel, compared to other citrus fruits. This makes them a popular on-the-go snack, because they are portable and produce less mess than a traditional orange.

Satsumas are also the type of fruit most commonly used to make canned mandarin orange slices. They are also often found in salads, usually paired with blue cheese or other bold flavors.

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Though small in size, satsumas are big in nutritional value. An average satsuma contains only 50 calories, but provides more than 100% of the daily-recommended amount of vitamin C. It is also high in calcium, fiber, thiamine, and folate.

Here are some recipes to help you enjoy these sweet, tangy fruits!

Grilled Shrimp & Satsuma Salad
2 15-ounce cans black beans, rinsed and drained
3 fresh satsumas, peeled and separated into segments
1/2 sweet red bell pepper, seeded and sliced
1/2 sweet yellow bell pepper, seeded and sliced
1/2 small red onion, thinly sliced
4 cups arugula or spring mix
1 pound medium shrimp, peeled and grilled or broiled
Fresh cilantro sprigs, for garnish
2 tablespoons fresh satsuma juice
1 teaspoon chili powder
1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
1/2 teaspoon sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1/4 cup olive oil
1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro

In large bowl, whisk together satsuma juice, chili powder, cumin, sugar, salt, black pepper, olive oil, and cilantro. Gently toss beans, satsumas, peppers, and onion into the dressing. Place a cup of greens on each of four dinner plates and spoon bean mixture over top of the greens. Top each plate with grilled shrimp, garnish with cilantro, and serve.

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1 Jaime McLeod { 02.12.13 at 9:32 am }

Hi Buck,
This photo is of two satsumas according to the photographer, who labeled it as such. I couldn’t say what the variety is. We purchase all of our images from a stock photography service.

2 Buck Buchanan { 02.11.13 at 5:42 pm }

Every satsuma that I’ve eaten has had a shape that is more like a tomato than a navel orange as depicted in the photo. Is the photo actually two satsumas and if so, what is the variety?

3 Lisa Turner { 02.06.13 at 9:15 pm }

I have grown up with satsumas all my life in Louisiana and was so glad to find them in Florida when I moved here. The recipes are great. Thank you

4 Deborah Tukua { 02.06.13 at 12:47 pm }

Growing up in north Florida, we picked juicy Satsuma tangerines from our yard trees. Informative article, can’t wait to try these recipes Jaime, sounds delicious!
Deborah Tukua, author of Citrus Morning, Noon & Night: A Citrus Cookbook.

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