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All About the Shiranui Mandarin

Thanks to their enchanting blend of sweetness and tang, citrus fruits are among the most popular fruits in today’s world. Nevertheless, how often does the shiranui mandarin come to mind when considering what to eat to satisfy a craving for citrus? The answer is–not often enough!

Three shiranui mandarins on a tray.

Often regarded as simply a smaller and less attractive version of the orange, of which mandarins are one category, the shiranui mandarin doesn’t always get the credit it deserves. If you’re looking to revitalize your pantry, however, this is the fruit to use. We bet you’ll agree once you learn about them here!


Interesting Facts About the Shiranui Mandarin

The shiranui mandarin was first cultivated during the 1970s in Japan, where it’s known as the dekopon, a combination of the words for “convex” or “uneven” and the type of mandarin from which the fruit is derived. It didn’t arrive in the U.S. until the 1990s and only gained widespread notice in the past decade.

Nowadays, the fruit is popular enough to serve as a flavor in various fruit-based candies, especially in its country of origin.

Two shiranui mandarins and one cut in half.

Characteristics of the Shiranui Mandarin

Once you know what a shiranui mandarin looks and tastes like, and how it makes you healthier, you’ll want to get your hands on them and try them for yourself. If you’re not sure how to identify one, we’ll help you out!

Appearance

Like many other citrus fruits, the shiranui mandarin has a bright skin color; in this case, it’s a vibrant orange. It’s also lumpy and uneven rather than perfectly round or smooth. Because of its softness, the skin is easily peeled away to reveal an equally orange and seedless flesh. The whole fruit is medium- to large-sized, though it seldom grows bigger than an orange.

Two shiranui mandarins.

Perhaps the most distinctive trait is that the top area that once attached the mandarin to a stem protrudes outward. The bump almost resembles an outie belly button!

Taste

Despite containing the familiar zing of a typical citrus fruit, the shiranui mandarin juice also possesses a distinctively sweet flavor. In fact, some describe it as honey- or candy-like.


Health Benefits

When it comes to improving your body and mind, the shinarui mandarin does not disappoint. It boasts a range of nutrients common to other citrus fruits, particularly those below.

Vitamin C

If you want a robust immune system, strong bones, healthy blood, and elastic skin, you need a certain amount of vitamin C every day. The shiranui mandarin promises to more than meet your daily needs.

Closeup of half a shiranui mandarin.

Fiber

Because it supports your digestive system and maintains your blood sugar, fiber makes waste relief more comfortable, helps with weight management, and reduces the risk of developing diabetes or heart disease. The shiranui mandarin contains lots of it.

Potassium

This mandarin also contains a notable amount of potassium and calcium. That’s good news for your blood pressure, muscles, and nervous system, which all function better with both of these essential nutrients.


Recipes

Because shiranui mandarins come pre-sliced by nature, you can always peel one and break it apart into a fruit salad to enhance the flavor. Of course, it’s delicious when raw, too. However, there are lots of other ways to eat these mandarins, too! Just check out these ideas:

Whipped Honey Butter

If you’d love something delectable to spread on your toast or to mix with your oatmeal or vegetables, citrus whipped honey butter is perfect. This recipe calls for orange blossom honey and clementine peels, but it works just as well with a few substitutions. Just buy some premade sweet cream butter from the store and combine it with orange juice, mandarin zest, and honey!

Cranberry and Pecan Muffins

For countless years, cranberry and orange have been put together to make breads and pastries because their flavors complement each other so beautifully. These cranberry and orange muffins carry on that tradition, and they’ll be luscious if you use shiranui mandarins instead of oranges. Add some pecans or another nut for a crunchier texture!

Orange cranberry pecan muffins.

Lemon and Garlic Chicken

As one of the milder meats, chicken could always use something with a strong flavor to glam it up. Nothing does the trick like lemon juice and garlic with sharinui mandarin slices! Go through this slow cooker recipe switching out oranges for your mandarins, and you’ll have more fun eating chicken than ever before.

Pan-Fried Tofu

Love the taste of citrus with meat, but don’t actually want to eat meat? Don’t worry, there’s a fantastic tofu option. In this pan-fried tofu recipe, cook the tofu cubes with red onions, garlic, chili, and peanut oil, and then you glaze it with a sauce made from oranges, apple cider vinegar, sriracha, sugar, etc. Just use the mandarins instead of the oranges, and you’re ready to go!


Where to Buy Shiranui Mandarins

As shiranui mandarins rise in demand, you can likely find them at local grocery stores. You may see them advertised as dekopon or Sumo Citrus, a brand based in California. If you have any trouble, though, order a whole box of them from an online retailer like A Gift Inside or Tomorrow’s Harvest.

A market display of shiranui mandarins.

How to Care for a Shiranui Mandarin Tree

Although shiranui mandarins are available at many grocery store chains and online retailers, nothing compares to the reward of growing your own tree. We’ve posted articles about mastering the art of nurturing orange trees, which apply to these trees as well. However, we can give you a few quick tips here!

Planting

In spring, choose a spot on your property where your shiranui mandarin tree will have access to sunlight for at least six hours every day. The soil must be well-drained, too. The area should allow for 12 to 15 feet in foliage spread and 12 to 18 feet in height.

A green shiranui mandarin fruit.

Fertilizing

Citrus trees thrive best with fertilizer that mixes a specific ratio of nitrogen, potassium, phosphorus, copper, magnesium, iron, and zinc. If you can’t find it locally, buy it from retailers like Amazon. Apply it once a year.

Watering

Water the tree and surrounding soil once a week, preferably in the morning, when the temperature is cool enough that the water won’t evaporate too quickly. Use a light sprinkler or drip irrigation system so that the soil stays damp without becoming oversaturated.

A ripening shiranui mandarin on a tree.

Pruning

The best time to remove suckers and dead or decaying branches from a shiranui mandarin tree is somewhere between February and April, just before they start blooming. Consider removing sharply diagonal or overlapping branches as well, as this clears the spread and allows more foliage to receive sunlight. However, leave the flower buds alone; they help the actual fruit grow.

Pest Control

Fortunately, shiranui mandarin trees are resistant to many types of pest infestation. Only slugs, aphids, scales, and mites are likely to cause damage. If you notice them anywhere on or near the tree, get rid of them by cleaning the tree with an insecticidal soap. Either make them yourself from vegetable oil, detergent, and water or buy some from a retailer like Amazon.


Where to Buy a Shiranui Mandarin Tree

Of course, you can’t grow a shiranui mandarin tree unless you know where to buy one! Gardening stores like Lowe’s often sell citrus and mandarin trees, so the shiranui variety may be available there. If not, however, order one from Nature Hills, Fast-Growing Trees, or a similar online store!

A shiranui mandarin tree.

Enjoy a Fresh Shiranui Mandarin!

We hope you’re as excited to try a shiranui mandarin as we’ve been to tell you about them! Whether you buy some from a store or add a tree to your garden, these mandarins will easily become one of your favorite fruits.

A small immature shiranui mandarin.
An immature shiranui mandarin.

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