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What are Satsumas? Sweet Mandarins You Have to Try

Satsuma Mandarins

Have you heard of Satsumas? Don't miss out on this sweet and juicy variety of mandarin oranges. Read on to learn why you can't go wrong with Satsumas!

Mandarin oranges are some of the most versatile, delicious citrus fruits available. Among mandarins, Satsumas are the cream of the crop. Their great taste and convenience in growing and consuming make them the perfect choice whether you are picking up one to enjoy for lunch or investing in a grove to harvest.

Here are eight reasons why Satsumas are worth growing and enjoying!

1. They Have a Long History

The Satsuma’s name comes from the name of the Japanese province where it came from more than 700 years ago. Jesuits brought the fruit to the United States by way of Louisiana. 

Some think the fruit originated in China (hence its connection with the mandarin kind of fruit). 

Legend has it that the name “Satsuma” is credited to the wife of a United States minister to Japan, General Van Valkenberg, who sent her the trees in 1878 from Satsuma. Between 1908-1911, nearly a million budded trees were transported to the Gulf States.

2. They Can Withstand Frost

Satsumas are considered cold hardy and can withstand major drops in temperature. 

However, they are sensitive and may not withstand travel as well as their peers, clementines and mandarins. Their distinctive skin, which makes them so easy to peel, is not as effective in preventing bruising and damage. 

3. They are Great in All Kinds of Recipes

Satsumas go well in many kinds of foods and beverages, from gin and tonics to citrus-flavored cake. The juiciest and sweetest member of the mandarin family, they also boast a deep reddish-gold color which can look very attractive in salads, desserts, or as a garnish.

Because of their intense flavor, Satsumas go well in a sauce over proteins like chicken or fish. Add them to hot oil with some fresh herbs for a fragrant glaze.

Plus, they make a fun addition to a wide variety of cocktails or sangria.

4. They Peel Very Easily

The skin of the Satsuma makes them easy to open and eat right away. You won't be stuck peeling off the white strings like you may with some other kinds of oranges. 

In a race to get the skin off a clementine, a tangerine, or a Satsuma, the latter will always win.

5. Satsumas are Nutritious

Like all citrus fruits, Satsumas are extremely nutritious. They contain high levels of Vitamin C, which is critical to overall health. Vitamin C helps your skin and hair, plus it boosts your immune system and prevents you from getting sick. 

The citrate in citrus fruits like Satsumas can also help break up the formation of crystallized minerals which cause kidney stones. They are low in calories and will fill you up easily, helping with weight loss. They have also been found to help prevent cognitive decline with conditions like Alzheimer's.

7. They're Low in Sugar

A typical Satsuma has about 65 calories. Although it is sweet, it is relatively low in sugar. That makes it an excellent snack, satisfying the need for sweetness without the empty calories of sugary treats.

In fact, adding the juice of a Satsuma to a drink of sparkling water or a cup of yogurt is an effective way to quench your sweet tooth without the ill health effects of sugar.

8. Kids Love Them

What's not to love about a Satsuma? They are little and easy to open, with very few seeds. You can stuff a couple in a lunch box, or keep some in your purse for whenever your little ones need a snack. 

Satsumas are the perfect way to get your kids - or anyone! - to eat something nutritious. Plus, they are super easy to clean up.

Satsumas: Nature's Little Gift 

Whether you want to grab some at the grocery store or grow a Satsuma mandarin orange tree yourself, you can't go wrong with Satsumas.

With a myriad of wellness benefits plus lots of other appealing characteristics, these little fruits will keep everyone you know healthy and happy.

For more on Satsumas and every other kind of citrus fruit under the sun, including health benefits, how to grow citrus and recipes, check out our blog!

A Guide to Feng Shui Cleaning with the Kaffir Lime Fruit

Kaffir Lime Fruit

Did you know that the kaffir lime fruit has spiritual cleansing properties? Discover how it has been used in Feng Shui to clear negative energies.

When was the last time you felt a lime with a rumpled, bumpy green peel? If you said never what are you waiting for?

Unlike the limes used only in cooking and for making salsa and limeade, there's one also known for its spiritual qualities. Say hello to the kaffir lime!

Not sure why you'd use lime for something other than flavoring food and drinks?

Read our guide and discover how you can use Feng Shui and Kaffir lime fruit as a cleansing for the mind, body, and home.

Not An Ordinary Lime

Close your eyes and imagine the produce section at your local grocery. Find the citrus fruits. Breathe in and enjoy the clean aroma of lemons and limes.

What you’re smelling is likely the Persian lime (Citrus latifolia). If you’re lucky, you may enjoy the aroma of the Key lime (Citrus aurantifolia). And if you can smell either while reading, you have an excellent imagination!

You can find limes in almost every food market, but you can’t smell them unless you slice them open (or unless they’re not fresh).

The star of this post is the kaffir lime fruit—an extraordinary, but not common lime. The kaffir lime (Citrus hystrix) hails from Southeast Asia. It’s mainly used in cooking but is also valued for spiritual cleansing qualities.

Wander through an Asian food store, and chances are, you’ll find a selection of kaffir limes. Even better, grow your own lime tree!

Feng Shui and Kaffir Lime

Feng Shui, an ancient Chinese art, uses kaffir limes for spiritual cleansing. People who practice Feng Shui do so because it brings balance, health, and good luck. Spiritual cleansing rids your body and your living space of negative energy.

If you need to cleanse the negative chi from your aura, use Kaffir limes. Limes help cleanse the mind and body of depression and anxiety. They also help restore chi when you suffer the loss of a loved one.

Kaffir limes not only rejuvenate your mind, body, and spirit, they help eliminate unpleasant odors from your living space.

Soak in a Spiritual Lime Bath

Looking for a way to cleanse your body and soul? Consider a spiritual bath. Spiritual baths are different from your normal soak in the tub.

This bath cleanses negative energy from the soul and at the same time, rejuvenates the body.

When preparing for a kaffir lime bath, first clean the tub and make sure you remove any soap or oil residue. Then, make sure your body is clean. That’s right—this is about spiritual, not physical cleansing.

Run a warm bath, crush several kaffir lime leaves and add to the water. Slip into the warm water and breathe in the relaxing, inspiring aroma of citrus.

Ready for Your Kaffir Lime Fruit Experience?

If you’re craving the sense of balance and improved health offered by practicing Feng Shui, why not start by enjoying the benefits of kaffir lime fruit from your own tree?

Whether you use the lime in cooking or prefer enjoying its spiritual cleansing properties, you can start today. While you can pick up several limes on your next shopping trip to an Asian food store, or a health food store, you can also grow your own kaffir lime tree.

For more articles on the benefits of growing citrus trees, visit our citrus blog today!

Two is Better than One: 5 Hybrid Citrus Fruits You Have to Try

Hybrid Citrus Fruits

What's better than your favorite citrus fruits? Your favorite fruits combined! Check out these unique hybrid citrus fruits that you have to try.

Have you ever wished you could have the sweetness of an orange mixed with the size of a grapefruit? The idea of cross-breeding fruits, including citrus, is nothing new and dates back hundreds of years as farmers worked to create strains that were hardy against pests and grew better in native soil.

As genetic science advanced, people began mixing different types of fruits to create hybrids that had characteristics of both. Some of your favorite fruits are likely hybrids and you don’t even know it. We’re going to take a look at some of the most famous hybrid fruits available.

Are these on your weekly shopping list?

The Bloodiest of Hybrid Fruits: The Blood Lime

It might seem like something from your deepest nightmare, but the Blood Lime is a hybrid between a red finger lime and an Ellendale mandarin orange. What makes this fruit stand out is the dark red color on the outside and an orange mixed color on the inside.

You might think it’s sour given the lime, but it actually has a flavor that is both sweet and tangy. They make a great snack or mixed in with a salad. Mix with a blood orange from a fresh blood orange tree for the perfect Halloween fruit plate.

Peacotums Aren’t Just Peachy

There are many peach hybrids, but Peacotum stands out because it’s actually a mix of three different fruits. It’s a beautiful melding of peach, apricot, and plum that delivers a peach-like flesh consistency, but with the flavors of plum and apricot.

This tasty Frankenstein of fruit are wonderful by themselves or when sliced and added to a fruit salad or a delicious smoothie. While you’ll see plenty of dual fruit hybrids, this tribrid fruit was created by Zaiger Genetics.

Pineberry: The White Strawberry

One of the defining characteristics of a strawberry is the bright red color, but this hybrid of a common strawberry and a unique strawberry native to Hawaii is a stark contrast. The Pineberry’s white exterior with red seeds makes for a unique sight.

The flavor has a hint of pineapple to create something truly unique to the world of hybridization. The bright green stems plus the white flesh is the perfect combination for this petite berry.

Oroblanco is a Sweeter Grapefruit

This seedless fruit is a mix of pomelo and a tetraploid grapefruit. It’s less acidic and bitter than your standard grapefruit, but it’s also smaller. Developed by the University of California in 1981, the round fruit has a thinker skin than a grapefruit and is eaten like an orange.

The tasty flesh is separated by a white membrane that is very bitter.

The Tangelo Looks Like a Bell

You’ll see tangelos commonly in grocery stores are a mix of a tangerine and a grapefruit. The result is a bell-shaped fruit often called a honeybell. It has a loose skin that makes it much easier to peel than a standard orange and lacks the bitterness of a grapefruit.

The bell-like appearance comes mostly from an elongated nipple at the top of the fruit.

Only the Tip of the Hybrid Iceberg

These are five of the most unique hybrid fruits, but there are many more. Scientists and farmers create new varieties every year and improve existing fruits. People throughout the world eat them and often have no clue they’re eating a hybrid.

If you want to learn more about citrus fruits, or growing your own citrus trees, check out our selection of exotic citrus trees, as well as our citrus blog!

The Aromatic Kaffir Leaf: What is It and How to Use It

Kaffir Leaf

Kaffir lime leaves are a beautifully aromatic herb used in many East Asian dishes. We discuss the kaffir leaf and how to incorporate it into your home cooking.

If you've ever visited Southeast-Asia or you're a fan of the cuisine, you may be familiar with the kaffir lime leaf. 

If there's any punchy flavor to characterize this style of cuisine, the kaffir leaf would be it. It's a beautifully aromatic herb and can bring a bland dish to life, no matter what you're cooking. 

That being said, the kaffir leaf should be used sparingly as it can overpower other flavors. Learn more about this wonderfully diverse herb below!

The Kaffir Leaf: Origins, Flavors, Cooking and Growing

If you've never cooked with the kaffir lime leaf before, there's no time like the present to experiment with its pungent flavor. But where does this herb originate from and how do you spot it in the supermarket?

Kaffir leaves are dark green in color and relatively thick and waxy. They are dark green and shiny on one side, and pale and porous on the other. 

Botanically known as Citrus Hystrix, this herb originates from the kaffir lime tree, which also bears the kaffir lime fruit. What's important to note is that kaffir limes are not usually consumed, but rather used to produce household cleaning products! This, alone, speaks to how pungent the flavor of kaffir lime leaf really is.

The leaves, on the other hand, are used in both cooking and baking but only sparingly.  

The Flavors of Kaffir Leaf

So what exactly does kaffir lime leaf add to the dishes you cook if its flavor is so punchy? Basically, the kaffir leaf is the Asian equivalent to bay leaves in Indian cooking. And you only really need two to three decent-sized bay leaves to experience flavor.

Kaffir leaves can be added recipes including Thai-inspired curries, soups, noodle dishes, and stir-fries. They are usually added whole, then removed just before eating. Alternatively, they can be sliced up into very fine slivers and added as a garnish on top of curries and soups, or incorporated into spice pastes.

The flavor and aroma of the kaffir leaf are citrus in nature, imparting a distinctive, fresh and zingy lemon-lime taste to all dishes. 

Some top tips on how to use kaffir leaves according to certain dishes:

  • Use the leaves whole when simmering in soups and curries
  • Shred the leaves to use in Thai-inspired fish cakes and similar recipes
  • Go for the fresh and tender kaffir leaves to use in salads - stay away from dried kaffir leaves as these can be bitter
  • Be wary of the mid-rib of the leaf as this can add bitterness to your curries, soups and other dishes. Remove this part before cooking if you prefer. 
  • Frozen kaffir lime leaves can be used right away, otherwise, briefly rinse under hot water to awaken their fragrance

Some popular dishes to incorporate kaffir leaf into include: Thai green curry, chicken fried rice, Thai steamed mussels, Thai crab papaya salad, and more.

If you come across a recipe which calls for kaffir lime leaves, leave them out if you cannot find them. There really is no replacement for their unique flavor!  

Growing or Buying Kaffir Lime 

Kaffir lime trees are known as a dwarf citrus tree and can be grown either outdoors or indoors. They reach a maximum height of around 5-feet tall and thrive in potted environments. The perfect place to grow your own would be on a patio, deck or even in your front yard. Just make sure the container provides adequate drainage. 

Otherwise, kaffir lime leaves themselves can be bought fresh or frozen from Thai or Vietnamese specialty food stores. You can generally find them in the fresh produce section beside other fresh herbs and spices. 

Today, many regular supermarket chains across the U.S. also stock lime leaves, just head to the fresh herb section to find them. 

Learn How to Grow Dwarf Citrus Trees With Us 

At US Citrus, you can find the best citrus trees to grow on your front porch for amplified flavor, year-round. 

Learn more about how to grow your own citrus trees at home in our blog!

Storing Citrus Fruits 101: How to Store Citrus Fruits

How to Store Citrus Fruits

You've plucked your citrus fruits from your tree. Now, how do you store them? Here's how to store your citrus fruits so they stay fresh and last longer!

Every day in America, 150,000 tons of food finds its way to the garbage bin. 
This includes processed foods, fruits, and vegetables.

Surprisingly, people purchasing more fruits and vegetables in a bid to eat healthier are the most wasteful of the bunch.

Do you have to keep tossing away citrus fruits because you can’t keep them long enough? Here are five tips on how to store citrus fruits.

1. Get Good Fruit

Unlike most fruits, citrus fruits do not continue to ripen once picked. 
However, if you pick over-ripened fruit, it will be susceptible to rotting.

On the other hand, you do not want to pick raw fruit because its sweetness and nutritional value will be hampered.

You, therefore, need to pick well-ripened fruit.

Always look for fruit with vibrant colors, but which are firm to touch. Greenish color on oranges might mean that they are under ripened. However, oranges with tinges of green and green lemons are okay as they tend to keep well for longer.

2. Refrigeration

Oranges do best at cooler temperatures and go bad quickly at warmer temperatures.

To refrigerate them properly, place them in a mesh as opposed to a plastic bag. This allows air to circulate and slows down the growth of mold, lesions, or softened rind.

If you place them in the veggie section and turn them occasionally to allow airflow, they should remain fresh for about 30 days.

You can do the same with grapefruit as well.

To refrigerate lemons, however, put them in a sealed ziplock bag before placing them in the fridge.

3. Place on an Airy Counter Top

For oranges and grapefruit that you intend to consume within a week, placing them on a counter at room temperature is sufficient.

The number of days the fruit will remain fresh is, however, dependent on how hot the area you live in gets. Try leaving them out for a few days and pay attention to how well they keep.

Do not cover them with anything. Airflow plays a huge role in maintaining citrus fruit freshness.

4. Keep Them Dry

Whether you refrigerate or keep your citrus fruits on a countertop, keeping them dry is key.

Bundling them together when wet encourages mold growth and lesions which could break down the peel and compromise the flesh of the fruit.

5. Store Citrus Fruits for Longer: Pickling

This is one of the best ways to keep your fruit for up to six months.

Pickling is effective for oranges, lemons, and limes. To do this, make incisions on your fruit and place salt on the incisions before putting them in airtight jars and close tightly.

Something else you can do is to squeeze out the juice and freeze it in cubes before placing them in the refrigerator in zip lock bags. You can then use the cubes as needed.

No More Wastage

With these citrus storage tips, you will not only store citrus fruits for longer but also enjoy fresher, more nutritious fruit and reduce the amount of fruit you throw away.

If you have many oranges, lemons or another citrus fruit around, drinking them might be easier than eating them. Check out these delicious citrusy summer drink recipes to get started!

To grow your own citrus fruits, take a look at our exotic citrus tree collection, delivered straight to your door!