Normally it takes two to tango, but this particular citrus fruit manages all on its own! You might think oranges and the various sub-varieties are all the same, but that couldn’t be further from the truth…and the Tango is one of the best there is!
If you’re looking for a convenient snack, a new plant friend for your garden, or even a new ingredient to play with for your next recipe, Tango mandarins are a perfect choice. Read on to discover everything you need to know about eating, growing, and cooking with the Tango mandarin!
Characteristics of the Tango Mandarin
Let’s start by going over the characteristics of the Tango mandarin, starting with their appearance, taste, and tree traits!
Appearance of the Tango Mandarin
Tango mandarins are one of the most symmetrical-looking citrus fruits. These squat little fruits are wider than they are tall, considered medium-sized amongst other orange varieties. They boast the classic shade of orange you expect to see on a mandarin, with smooth, thin skin and delicious orange fruit hiding inside. Another interesting (and exciting!) trait of Tango mandarins? They’re considered low-seeded, which means fewer inconveniences between you and your snack! (Some sources claim Tangos are entirely seedless, but this seems to be a point of contention. Assume them to be low-seeded rather than seedless to be on the safe side, but hey, if you happen to discover a seedless one, all the better!)
Taste of the Tango Mandarin
The Tango mandarin’s taste is yet again a perfect example of its ideality; it offers a satisfying blend of tart, sour bite and soothing sweetness. This juicy meld of sour and sugar could trick you into thinking you’re indulging, when in reality, this vitamin C-packed fruit is one of the best choices you can make for your health! Vitamin C is great for the health of your skin, your gut, and your overall body; it can even help prevent infections and muscle cramps!
You’ll also find vitamins A and B in these little fruits; vitamin A is great for eyesight among other things, and vitamin B is great for your brain! There’s a ton of nutrition packed into a very small package here, and the best part? Mandarins are a particularly kid-friendly fruit thanks to their taste, bright color, and overall inviting nature.
Tango Mandarin Tree Traits
The Tango mandarin tree is considered semi-dwarf; this puts it in the category just above dwarf fruit trees, so you might need some higher ceilings if you plan to grow this little beauty indoors. Still, the Tango mandarin tree is actually very well-suited to container growing and will thrive just fine whether you choose to put your sapling in a container or in your outdoor space!
You can either plant them outside in a sunny place (avoid shady or flood-prone areas of your backyard; these trees require plenty of sun and soil that drains well, so overwatering or lack of sunlight is one of the biggest worries while trying to grow them at home) or you can plant them in a sizable container and place them on your patio, deck, porch, or sun porch. If you live in a more mild area, they should be fine outside no matter what; if you experience winter where you’re from, you’ll probably need to lean on the container side of growing and be sure to bring your tree inside for the winter.
Uses for the Tango Mandarin
The Tango mandarin is uniquely well-suited to snacking, thanks to its low-seeded or seedless quality; you have less to worry about after peeling apart the fruit to get to the goodness inside! The harmony of sweet and sour dancing on your tongue will leave you feeling ready to take on the dance floor yourself, and on top of that, the health benefits here can’t be beat.
Tango mandarins are a great thing to sneak into your kids’ school lunches if you want to get some extra nutrition into their diet; thanks to the heavenly taste, it’s not too hard to frame it as a treat rather than a “fruit and veggie” staple. There’s bound to be less resistance to the bright, colorful mandarin rather than some sad vegetable or fruit slices that have sat in the lunchbox for a couple hours. And they’re not just good for kids; adults rave about them as well, and they make a great addition to any meal…not just in their raw state, but as part of cooked dishes, as well!
Oranges are shockingly versatile when it comes to cooking, and the Tango mandarin is no different. You can go all kinds of directions, from sweet to savory, from cooking to baking to canning…even to bartending!
If you want to add a dash of citrus to something on the savory side, you can make some mandarin salsa, mandarin prosciutto bruschetta (that’s a mouthful in more ways than one!), or a tangerine turmeric smoothie (though this may lean a bit on the sweet side, too!).
If you’re having some kind of classy event, or just wanting to wind down a bit on a weekend night, mix yourself up an old-fashioned and garnish with a bit of Tango mandarin peel.
No matter what recipe you decide to throw a bit of Tango into, it’s always going to be an enhancement. You’ll have to be careful, though; once you try them, you might find yourself always craving for more!
When is the Tango Mandarin in season?
There’s a reason the Tango mandarin is usually grown in warm, mild climates—these fruits don’t fully mature until late winter, around January, and the fruit can hang on the tree until well into spring, around April! Unfortunately, this means they’re not around for holiday recipes and gift-giving, so they’re not as useful in that aspect. But if you’re looking for a taste of summer in the dead of winter, the Tango mandarin is the perfect choice for you.
Where is the Tango Mandarin grown?
As mentioned, the Tango mandarin can be grown just about anywhere, but the method will vary depending on where you live. You’ll want to check your growing zone before taking on one of these trees and committing to planting them outdoors; these trees thrive outdoors in growing zones 9 or 10 in the ground, and in zones 4-10 in a container. You need to be wary of frost and such, but these trees are fairly easy to take inside if you absolutely need to; just be sure to prune them down if needed!
Final Thoughts on the Tango Mandarin
All in all, the Tango mandarin is an all-around fantastic fruit; no matter what you might want a mandarin for, this thing can do it all. There’s no chance of disappointment when you pick up one of these vibrant orange jewels!
Excited for more orange content? Check out our orange trees page to start learning everything there is to know about your favorite citrus!
- About the Author
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Cassidy Eubanks is a proud Michigander, an avid reader, a lover of colorful gardens, and a writer for Minneopa Orchards.
After earning her bachelor’s in Creative Writing (partially through virtual learning, thanks to the pandemic), gardening gave her an excuse to get outside and get away from all the screens. With a particular love for decorating with colorful flowers, using herbs grown in her own garden, and finding creative ways to build big gardens in small spaces, Cassidy enjoys helping others learn about growing their own food, flowers, and trees through Minneopa Orchards!