Honey tangerines, which are also known as Murcott oranges, are only grown in the state of Florida. The actual origin of this fruit is a bit of a mystery, but what we do know about it is that is a hybrid between the tangerine and sweet orange, also known as a tangor.
It is thought that a man by the name of Charles Murcott Smith is the developer of the fruit, hence its name. He was a manager of a nursery located in Bayview, Florida.
Charles is believed to have created the honey tangerines in the 1920s. Also, supposedly, involved in the development of the honey tangerine are J. Ward Smith and W. T. Swindle.
Another name for the honey tangerines is Murcott orange, but it’s mostly sold under the name honey tangerine. The fruit comes in various colors, but most of the time it has an orange red color and sometimes it’s more of a yellow orange.
It all depends on the winter conditions that year; if it was a cold winter, they have a darker orange and during warmer months, they have a lighter, brighter yellow orange. On average, honey tangerines are known to produce between 12 and 24 seeds and have orange flesh. Unlike with most tangerines, the skin is a bit tougher, making it more difficult to peel.
The reason why the honey tangerines got their name was because of its sweet taste, perhaps the sweetest tangerine there is – usually compared to the sugar levels of the honeybell, also known as the Minneola tangelo. The juice of honey tangerines is mainly used in the kitchen for baking desserts like orange cakes. Some even put it in their salad dressing and croutons. Others put it in during the last minute of their stir fly to give it a citrusy taste.
Honey tangerines are only grown in Florida between January and April. The best ones to pick are those that are a bit heavy, shiny and smooth. Those that are light may not be as juicy. Don’t buy any that have green spots or wrinkled skin. Honey tangerines are known to spoil quickly, so make sure you plan to eat them fairly quickly before getting them; don’t buy too many at a time if you don’t think they’ll be consumed in a timely manner. The average honey tangerine is small to medium in size.
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