At this time of year crates of enticing, aromatic orange orbs appear in grocery stores. Clementines are known and loved for their intensely sweet flavour, small nature and wonderfully strong scent.
They fit delightfully into a coat pocket, liven lunchboxes and have that excellent ability to be peeled easily in one long, springy coil.
Clementines are hybrid crosses of sweet orange and willowleaf mandarin oranges, the first example of which is believed to have occurred in Algeria
in the late 1800's.
These small, sweet oranges are named after Clément Rodier, a French missionary on whose trees they were first observed growing.
Several varieties have been cultivated over time each with slightly different
characteristics: there are completely seedless varieties, and those with few to many seeds. The sweetness and character of a clementine is often determined by the type of rootstock the tree is grown on. (Fruit trees of all types are often grafted onto the 'base' or rootstock of another, similar tree to achieve better growth, or to produce exact replicas of a fruit that cannot be grown directly from seed)
Where do clementines come from?
Clementines, like the rest of the citrus family, grow chiefly in sub-tropical and tropical climates. While there are likely to be clementine orchards in places like California, the majority of clementines are grown in locales of the Mediterranean, China and Brazil. This map shows the countries that produce the most clementines, satsumas, tangerines and mandarins. It's important to note that while all of these fruits are related and similar, they are distinct species with different characteristics.
The FAOSTAT data lumped them all together so it isn't precisely clear which of the countries produces the most clementines. Because the clementine has its roots in the Mediterranean, it would not be surprising if the majority of clementines we eat came from that region.
Statistics with your own crate of clementines
Next, separate and count all the segments. Eat them! Were there any pips?
Record your findings for each day and at the end of the week answer the questions provided, ask a few of your own and see what patterns emerge.