It is Clementine season and, daily, I gorge myself on these lovely fruits. They are sweet, luscious and tiny. One is just not enough, so I typically take four of them at a time from the fruit bowl.
Their smooth, shiny orange skin is very easily removed, so peeling the four is fast work. Then they are quickly divided into their individual sections, fourteen or so to the fruit. Each section is just bite-sized, a sweet, tangy, seedless, juicy mouthful of citrusy goodness.
They come to us at just the right time of year, from mid-November through January. At the darkest time of year, they are like a taste of sunshine.
These small oranges are of the Mandarin orange family and it is really in fairly recent years that they have become popular and widely available - at least in the grocery stores that I frequent. But having once discovered them, I'm doing my best to increase demand and ensure their continued production and availability in grocery produce departments.
Many fruits are now available year-round, having been imported from some other part of the world. We take those for granted. But Clementines are special. They are available for only a few weeks. Their appearance at Christmastime has given them the common name of "Christmas oranges." Indeed, they are a precious gift of the season.