Clementines and oranges are two of the healthiest citrus fruits. But despite the many similarities these fruits have, there are also a few differences between the two.
What are the differences between a clementine and an orange? The primary difference between clementines and oranges is their appearance. Clementines are smaller, with smoother skin and a brighter color. Clementines also taste sweeter and have very few varieties compared to oranges that come in over four hundred types.
In this article, we have compared all aspects of clementines and oranges, from their origin to nutrition facts and uses.
What Are Clementines?
If you have come home with a bag of citrus fruits that look like oranges but are as easy to peel as mandarins, you have most likely bought clementines.
A clementine is a citrus hybrid mostly available from November until February. This is why most people associate clementines with winter while oranges, for example, are available year-round.
Thanks to their sweet flavor and seedless nature, clementines are the favorite citrus fruit of those who don’t like a lot of tartness and are annoyed at the seeds that get in the way of enjoying the fruit.
Countries that grow clementines include China, Spain, Turkey, Morocco, Egypt, and Brazil. Clementines are also grown in California.
What Are Oranges?
Oranges are one of the most widely cultivated fruits in the world. In fact, we are so used to eating oranges that we don’t even wonder what they are until we try to understand the differences between oranges and other less common citrus fruits.
The popularity of oranges has to do with the fact that these fruits are highly nutritious while being inexpensive and widely available. Countries that produce large amounts of oranges include China, India, Mexico, and the US.
Clementine Vs Orange – What’s the Difference?
Clementines and oranges come from the same citrus family. Thus, it is only natural that the two fruits have a lot in common. And yet, there are many differences between a clementine and an orange.
One of the similarities between oranges and clementines is that both are hybrids.
Oranges came about as a hybrid between pomelos and mandarins. A clementine, on the other hand, is a cross between a mandarin orange and a sweet orange.
So, a clementine is a newer member of the citrus family and appeared way after oranges. But what are the origins of these fruits?
Oranges are said to have originated in Asia, namely in China and India. There is a mention of sweet oranges in a Chinese literature piece dating back to 314 BC.
Europeans started to cultivate oranges in the 10th century.
However, it took the countries of Europe a few centuries to adapt oranges as an edible fruit and it wasn’t until the 17th century when this citrus fruit was fully recognized in the continent.
Oranges were first introduced to the Americas in the late 15th century. It is believed that Christopher Columbus planted an orange tree during his second voyage to Hispaniola, an island in the Caribbean.
Clementines appeared in the late 19th century. A monk in French Algeria created this hybrid between mandarins and oranges. The fruit was named “clementine” after the name of its creator—Marie-Clément Rodier.
While some sources state that clementines appeared earlier in China, these fruits may actually just have been other mandarin hybrids. The French Missionary Brother is still the one credited with creating clementines.
There are a few differences between clementines and oranges as far as their appearance is concerned.
First off, clementines are smaller than oranges. Secondly, oranges are typically round while clementines are more oval in shape. They are flatter at the top and bottom parts.
Third, clementines have a bright deep orange color. Oranges, on the other hand, can have various shades of orange.
Lastly, the skin on clementines is smoother compared to the skin of the majority of orange varieties. It is also softer, thinner, and easier to peel. You can peel clementines as you do mandarins while peeling oranges is not very easy.
There are different types of clementines and oranges. However, as opposed to oranges that have hundreds of varieties, there are only three types of clementines.
The three types of clementines are seedless clementines, regular clementines that may have up to 10 seeds, and Monreal clementines. Monreal clementines have more than 10 seeds.
Oranges, as we have already mentioned, have many more varieties. There are over 400 hundred types of oranges in the world.
The most popular orange varieties include blood oranges, Valencia, Navel, Jaffa, Cara Cara, and Seville oranges.
Among all citrus fruits, clementines are the most famous for having a sweet flavor. Oranges, on the other hand, are sweet and tart at the same time.
Clementines and oranges are not very different when it comes to their nutritional value. Both fruits have high water content and are low in calories and protein.
The calories in both clementines and oranges come mainly from the natural sugars they contain. There is also nearly zero fat in both fruits.
Clementines and oranges are also rich sources of Vitamin C. It is no secret that citrus fruits are vitamin C powerhouses.
Eating 100 grams of these fruits provides you with more than half of the amount of vitamin C you need to consume daily.
Clementines and oranges are best enjoyed as is—a refreshing snack that is low-calorie yet very healthy.
But this doesn’t mean that these citrus fruits aren’t versatile enough to be used in a range of recipes. As clementines and oranges are very similar in terms of their texture and flavor, both can be used for the same cooking purposes.
Here’s what you can do with clementines and oranges.
- Use them in salads. Clementines and oranges work great in fruit salads, obviously. But they can shine in savory salad recipes too. Paired with such ingredients as cheese, beans, and chicken, these citrus fruits add a touch of brightness and freshness to the dish.
- Make juices and smoothies. What other way to use up your clementines and oranges if not make a big glass of delicious and healthy smoothie? Citruses pair well with a range of other fruits. You can create endless flavor combinations and get the health benefits of these fruits in the form of a drink.
- Use clementine and orange juice to make vinaigrettes. Citrus juices work well for salad dressings and vinaigrettes. Whenever you get tired of the traditional vinaigrette recipe, try to switch things up with the help of these citrus juices.
- Use clementines and oranges for poultry marinades. Thanks to their acidity, these fruits will effectively tenderize the poultry while also giving it a touch of fresh flavor.
- Incorporate them in your sweet creations. Oranges and clementines can be used in all kinds of desserts and sweet baked goods. You can use the fruits themselves or use their juice or zest.
Shelf Life And Storage
Clementines and oranges are nearly the same in terms of their shelf life and storage conditions.
You can keep both fruits on your kitchen counter and eat them within 2-3 days. But if you want to keep these fruits fresh longer, the fridge is the best place to store them.
Put the fruits in a mesh bag and store them in the fridge. Oranges and clementines can last up to 14 days in the fridge.
Can You Substitute Clementines With Oranges?
Clementines are not as widely available as oranges. If you come across a recipe that calls for clementines, clementine juice, or zest, there is no need to go above and beyond to find clementines. You can easily substitute them with oranges.
In recipes where you need fresh clementines, such as fruit salads and smoothies, replace them with the same amount of oranges.
When using orange juice or zest instead of clementine juice or zest, use only 3/4 of a regular-sized orange instead of one clementine.
Up Next: 15 Best Bowls For Dips