Do you love starting your morning with a cool glass of freshly squeezed fruit juice? The only way to make this better is by growing the fruit yourself.
The best citrus fruit for fresh juicing is the Murcott. You might see this tree advertised as the Honey Tangerine Tree.
Keep reading to learn more about this juicy, sweet citrus fruit. If you live in a warm climate, you could grow a Murcott tree in your garden!
What is the Honey Tangerine Tree?
Honey Tangerine is the commercial name for the Murcott fruit. The Murcott is a mouthwatering type of tangor citrus.
Tangor is a portmanteau of the words tangerine and orange. This term refers to any citrus variety that is a cross between a mandarin and sweet orange.
The Murcott Honey Tangerine is a descendant of the King tangelo. Little else is known about the parentage of this sweet and juicy tangor.
A Brief History of the Murcott Honey Tangerine
The complete genetic history of the Murcott is veiled in some mystery. While the seed parent is confirmed to be the King tangelo, the pollen parent remains unknown.
The first record of this tasty fruit was around 1913. Walter Tennyson Swingle produced the tree at a United States Department of Agriculture farm in Florida.
The tree was gifted to Charles Murcott Smith, who propagated the fruit. Smith started growing more Honey Tangerine trees in 1922.
This variety exploded in popularity among both hobby and commercial citrus gardeners throughout Florida. It is still widely grown in the Sunshine State today.
How Does the Honey Tangerine Taste?
The Honey Tangerine is exceptionally sweet and juicy. The flavor is smooth and lacks significant tartness, highlighting the natural sweetness of the fruit instead.
Murcott fruits are delicious but less convenient for fresh eating than other commercial tangors. They have thick reddish skin and prominent seeds.
The orange flesh surrounding these seeds is incredibly juicy. This is why home growers love squeezing fresh juice from Honey Tangerines.
Murcott Honey Tangerine juice is not usually available in supermarkets, despite the fruit’s sweet taste and superior juice yield. According to The University of Florida, this is because Murcotts contain high levels of limonin which can alter the flavor of bottled juice.
Eating Honey Tangerines
You can enjoy Honey Tangerines fresh from the tree, juiced, or in your favorite recipes. Tangerines are a type of orange, so go ahead and substitute Murcotts in any recipe calling for oranges. For instance, Esther’s Orange Marmalade Cake — the one made famous in Jan Karon’s Mitford novels.
This recipe for Homemade Cherry Jam is a crowd favorite. You won’t purchase store-bought jam again after trying it!
Try Murcotts in this scrumptious dessert recipe from The Food Network featuring Tangerine Sorbet with Vanilla Cream and Candied Pistachios.
The Health Benefits of Citrus
Adding fresh citrus fruit like the Murcott Honey Tangerine to your diet is a healthy and delicious way to get your vitamins and minerals.
One cup of freshly squeezed Honey Tangerine juice is packed with essential nutrients, including:
- Vitamin A
- Vitamins B1, B2, B3, B5, B6, and B9
- Vitamin C
How to Grow a Murcott Tree at Home
Do you live within one of the USDA hardiness zones 8-11? If so, you can grow Honey Tangerine trees in your backyard garden.
Murcott Honey Tangerines are not frost-tolerant. If you live somewhere that dips below freezing, you’ll need a greenhouse.
Luckily, Honey Tangerine trees make excellent container plants. Choose a dwarf variety to make it easy to move your tree indoors when there is a risk of frost damage.
When it comes to orange tree pollination, there are many types of orange trees that require cross-pollination, either by hand or with the help of a few bee hives. The Murcott Honey Tangerine is self-pollinating, making it a great option for beginner arborists.
These trees are prone to alternate bearing. This means you may have one year of minimal fruit production followed by a massive harvest the next year.
Murcott trees are susceptible to damage from these heavy fruit yields. Be sure to prune the tree regularly and limit the number of fruits to prevent broken branches.
Explore our complete guide on How to Prune an Orange Tree to learn how to do this correctly.
Where to Buy the Honey Tangerine Tree
You can purchase Honey Tangerine tree saplings from online nurseries. You should look for this cultivar advertised under a few different names.
Nature Hills Nursery sells this mouthwatering tangerine under the name, W. Murcott Mandarin Tree.
Be aware that federal law prohibits retailers from shipping citrus trees to Arizona, Louisiana, and Texas. Some additional restrictions may exist at a state level in parts of California and Florida.
How big does a honey tangerine tree get?
You can purchase different Honey Tangerine tree sizes to grow at home. Dwarf trees can grow up to ten feet tall, while full-sized Murcott trees may reach almost 15 feet tall.
Are honey tangerines seedless?
The Murcott Honey Tangerine is not a seedless cultivar.
Murcotts are known for their thick skins and large seeds. For this reason, they might be harder to find in the supermarket than other tangors.
Homegrown Honey Tangerines are ideal for juicing. This way, you can savor their delightfully sweet taste while avoiding their numerous large seeds.
Which tangerine is the sweetest?
The Honey Tangerine is considered by many to be the sweetest tangerine variety. Still, if you want a tiny citrus treat, you probably won’t reach for a tangerine.
Mandarins like Cuties and Halos are more popular for snacking than tangerines.
This is because mandarins have thinner skin that’s easier to peel, fewer seeds, and are sweeter than most tangerines.
Your Guide to the Murcott Honey Tangerine
Do you want to grow juicy, sugar-sweet citrus fruit at home? After reading this article, you should know if the Murcott Honey Tangerine tree is the perfect choice for you.
You might want to explore some of the many delicious citrus fruits you can grow at home. Check out our Orange Tree landing page to learn more about cultivating the sweetest citrus.