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6 Interesting Facts About The Owari Satsuma Mandarin

Eager to sample a quintessential snacking citrus that you can grow for yourself just about anywhere? Get ready to fall in love with the flavor and easy-growing necessities of the Owari Satsuma Mandarin.

Satsumas resembling the Owari Satsuma Mandarin

This is a mandarin variety beloved all around the world for what it offers in terms of sweetness and versatile growth. You’ll almost certainly want to grow an Owari Satsuma Mandarin tree for yourself once you learn all there is to know about it. Read on to find out more about this popular fruit.

History of the Owari Satsuma Mandarin

Unripe Satsuma

Tracing its origins back some 700 years to the islands of Japan, the Owari Satsuma Mandarin may be even older and more widespread than that. Some information suggests that the first Owari Satsuma Mandarin trees were actually located in China!

What we do know for certain is that this delicious citrus species first came to the United States in 1876 thanks to a man named George R. Hall.

As for the name of the citrus variety itself, this is credited to the wife of a United States minister to Japan who had several Owari Satsuma trees shipped back from Kagoshima Prefecture. At the time, this prefecture was known as the province of Satsuma.

This little mandarin tree grew quite rapidly in popularity in the early 1900s, with roughly about a million Owari Satsuma Mandarin trees being imported from Japan in the span of just a few years to be planted along the Gulf Coast states. They spanned from northern Florida all the way to Texas.

Though this acreage has since declined due to some very severe and lasting freezes, the Owari Satsuma Mandarin remains an extremely popular and widely grown mandarin variety. They’re popular in the United States as well as in Japan, China, and even Spain, where it is a popular canning type of mandarin.

Characteristics of the Owari Satsuma Mandarin

Mandarins resembling the Owari Satsuma Mandarin

One might call the Owari Satsuma Mandarin an ideal snacking mandarin, and in some ways, they can be difficult to distinguish from clementines. This is because they hold the same bright orange shade when ripe, are spherical in the same way, and are roughly the same size as clementines—about the size of the palm, if not a bit smaller.

Owari Satsumas are easy to peel, incredibly juicy, and are usually seedless or contain as few as six seeds per fruit.

When grown in certain areas with a humid and subtropical climate, the Owari Satsuma Mandarin may mature more quickly inside than outside, leading to a green-colored rind while the interior is fully matured. When this happens, the green rind fruits are often sold as Emerald Green satsumas.

Owari Satsuma Mandarin Specific

Mandarin tree

Eating Them

Coming honestly by its reputation as being a perfect snacking citrus, the Owari Satsuma Mandarin can be enjoyed in a number of ways. The easiest, of course, would be raw and fresh. However, there are other ways to enjoy the Owari Satsuma Mandarin as well!

Because of its size, flavor, and overall availability, the Owari Satsuma Mandarin also makes for a great canned or jarred mandarin snack.

This is one of its most popular applications in places such as Japan, China, and Spain; these countries will also at times blend Owari Satsuma Mandarins into orange juice to enhance that rich orange color, as it makes a great drinking juice both mixed with other orange juices or on its own as a tangerine juice.

In terms of using it in dishes, the Owari Satsuma Mandarin makes a fantastic component to just about any dish where you would normally employ the use of orange. It can pair well with milder fruits like banana, melon, or apricot, and it can also make a great zest or be used for creating sauces in dishes like chicken, duck, or even fish.

Additionally, the Owari Satsuma Mandarin can make a great exploratory food for babies starting on solids or for young children keeping up their fruit intake. It should be prepared properly with the membrane and any seeds removed (or when purchased ahead of time canned, with these components already dealt with).

One of the great appeals for kiddos is that this mandarin provides lots of health benefits, textural variance for developing palates, and a great, sweet flavor that little ones are sure to love.

In addition, its ease to peel and lack of seeds makes it a fantastic snack for toddlers as they learn fine motor skills and start to peel their own citrus. This makes the Owari Satsuma Mandarin a great family snack, too.

Health Benefits

The Owari Satsuma Mandarin offers many of the same health benefits inherent in plenty of varieties of oranges as well as other citruses.

One of the best known health benefits of Owari Satsuma Mandarins is the boost of vitamin C and other natural antioxidants that it offers. Common in all mandarins, the immune system aid provided by these antioxidant agents is a great preventative of all kinds of sickness and helps lower inflammation throughout the body, helping you feel and stay healthy.

In addition, consuming Owari Satsuma Mandarins can help maintain healthy levels in blood pressure and cholesterol, as well as encourage healthy body detoxification, healthy weight range, and regular bowel movements by being a great source of bioavailable fiber.

Another great health benefit to consuming Owari Satsuma Mandarins is that they contain a powerful punch of calcium—something that can help strengthen bones, hair, teeth, and nails.

Growing At Home

If you like what you have read about the Owari Satsuma Mandarin and would like to grow one for yourself, then here is some good news for you: you can grow them just about anywhere!

One of the greatest appeals to the Owari Satsuma Mandarin is that this is an easy citrus tree for just about anyone to grow. It can be potted and used as a patio plant, meaning all you need is space for a planting pot on your patio, balcony, etc., in order to make it right at home.

And, best of all, this is the most cold-resistant breed of citrus currently known. It can even survive temperature plunges down to 12 to 15 degrees Fahrenheit! This means you no longer have to live in the warmer southern climate to enjoy citrus grown right at home.

The key is to grow an Owari Satsuma Mandarin in a pot if you live in a colder growing Zone—typically Zones 4-11—so that you can bring them inside to protect against frost. Folks living in warmer areas like Zones 8-11 can plant them directly into the ground as they have much less risk of any frost happening.

The Owari Satsuma Mandarin is also a relatively easy fruit tree to grow. It requires full to partial sunlight and regular watering, fertilization every 6 weeks once the tree is established, and minimal pruning of any branches that appear damaged, diseased, or dead overall.

This is a mandarin variety that can thrive quite well in a variety of soils as long as they are drained well, and it ripens early—typically from October to December, which has made it such a popular imported citrus in places like Canada where citruses typically do not flourish well.

Where To Buy The Owari Satsuma Mandarin

Satsuma resembling the Owari

Although it is always considered best practices to source your seeds or young plants locally, such as from a nursery, garden center, tree farm, or farm stand, the Owari Satsuma Mandarin tree or seeds may not always be readily available in your area.

If you are looking to source Owari Satsuma Mandarin seeds or trees online, a reputable seed and tree seller you might consider is Fast Growing Trees. You can also keep an eye out for seed packets of Owari Satsuma Mandarin at your local lawn and garden center and grocery store, or at a seed specialty store.

Wrapping up Owari Satsuma Mandarin

Now that you know all the details about the Owari Satsuma Mandarin—a citrus you can grow just about anywhere!—be sure to take the time to learn about all of the details of citrus tree care.

Excited for more orange content? Check out our orange trees page to start learning everything there is to know about your favorite citrus!