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January 18, 2016

The Shiranuhi Tangerine

by Anne Paddock

Five years ago, a group of California citrus growers introduced the super sweet easy-to-peel seedless SUMO orange to the public.  A specialty gourmet orange that was originally grown in Japan, the seedlings were brought to California after growers realized citrus loving Americans were missing out on one of the tastiest fruits available.

Harvested from mid-January to March in California, the demand for these specialty oranges – despite their steep price of $3-$5 each – outstrips the growers ability to supply the market (last year, SUMO’s would disappear off produce shelves in hours and were all but impossible to get by March).  Fans have been stalking the Facebook pages of growers to find out when the grocery stores will be getting deliveries or when on-line orders will be accepted.Shiranuhi_Tangerine

With Florida being an ideal place to grow citrus, Noble Citrus of Winter Haven, Florida decided to start growing a relative of the SUMO called the Shiranuhi Tangerine, which is the generic name for the Dekopon orange – a group of very sweet thick-skinned oranges with little or no seeds – named after a town near Kumamoto, Japan where they were developed more than 40 years ago.Shiranuhi_Oranges

A large (nearly the size of a grapefruit) tangerine with very few seeds and thick easy-to-peel orangey, yellow and greenish skin, the Shiranuhi has a wrinkly warty-like exterior with a signature bump on the top. But don’t let its looks put you off because the inside is what counts, and the fruit under that skin is sweet, juicy, and divine.Shiranuhi_Tangerine_Interior

Weighing in at least a pound each, the Shiranuhi sells for about $2.99 a pound at Whole Foods Markets. Expect to pay $3-$4 per tangerine but it’s worth it.Shiranuhi_Tangerine

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