Have you ever wondered what’s the difference between clementine vs mandarin? Both fruits have a lot in common, including almost a similar appearance that someone may think they are the same, but they’re not.
See also Best Fruits with Vitamin A and Best Fruits for Healthy Bones.
They have key differences that set them apart. From their taste, texture, and health benefits, there’s always something to distinguish them.
In this article, you will learn more about what makes them different, including their health benefits and how to add them to your diet.
What is a Clementine (Citrus clementina)?
Clementine is a variety of mandarin, like tangerine, but it’s not a true mandarin. That’s because it combines a mandarin orange and sweet orange.
What is a Mandarin (Citrus reticulate)?
Also known as mandarin orange or mandarine, mandarin is a citrus fruit in the same family as lemons, oranges, lime, and grapefruit. They almost look similar to oranges but are smaller and sweeter than oranges.
Differences Between Clementines and Mandarins
1. Clementine vs Mandarin: Origin
Mandarins are believed to have originated in northeast India about 3000 years ago but found their way to China, where they were given the name mandarin.
Mandarins were then carried to Europe, North Africa, Australia, and the rest of the world.
On the other hand, Clementine was first introduced in the 19th century by a French Missionary, Brother Clément Rodier, who found it growing in the garden of the orphanage he ran in Misserghin, Algeria. The fruit was later named after him.
Most Clementines are grown in China but are also commonly grown in Morocco, Spain, and California.
2. Clementine vs Mandarin: Shape:
Both varieties are smaller than oranges, but the Clementine is much smaller than the mandarin.
They both have a round shape with a flat top and bottom.
3. Clementine vs Mandarin: Seeds
Like most citrus fruits, mandarins contain seeds in their flesh, while some clementine varieties do not. This makes them easy to eat and is the reason most people may prefer them over true mandarins.
4. Clementine vs Mandarin: Peel
Both the peel of mandarin and Clementine are easy to peel, but the mandarin one is much thinner, making it more prone to pressure and water loss.
On the other hand, Clementine has slightly thicker skin that allows the inner part to stay protected and not dry out. That’s why Clementine can be stored longer and remain fresh and juicy, unlike mandarins.
Mandarins can only retain their freshness for up to two weeks, while Clementines can last for as long as two months.
5. Clementine vs Mandarin: Skin
Clementines have shinier, bright orange skin, while mandarins have a darker orange shade than an orange.
6. Clementine vs Mandarin: Segments
Most people have never paid attention to this but grab about two or three fruits from each category and peel off the skin. Count the segments and see what you get. Mandarins will always have nine segments, while Clementines can have eight to twelve segments.
7. Clementine vs Mandarin: Harvest
Clementines often hit the market in winter and are a common Christmas gift or centrepiece. Nonetheless, they are often available all year round, including summer times.
Mandarins are also in season during the cooler months from November through to April. However, if you live where they are grown, you may start enjoying them as early as October.
8. Clementine vs Mandarin: Taste
While mandarin may have some sour taste, clementines are notably sweeter with no sour or bitter undertones. Mandarins are, however, more aromatic than clementines.
9. Clementine vs Mandarin: Nutrition
While both varieties contain vitamin C, Clementine has slightly higher levels of vitamin c than mandarine.
One Clementine (74g) contains 36.1 milligrams of vitamin C, or 60 percent of your daily requirement, while one medium-sized mandarin (88g) contains 23.5 milligrams, or 39 percent of your daily requirement.
So while both fruits can provide vitamin C, clementines are a richer source compared to mandarin.
Mandarin is a good source of vitamin A, with a medium-sized fruit providing 599 IU, or 12 percent of your daily requirement. Clementine, on the other hand, lacks this essential vitamin. So if you didn’t know which one to choose for your vitamin A, mandarins are the way to go.
Vitamin D is an essential nutrient needed for various functions, including regulating the amount of phosphate and calcium in the body, supporting the immune system, boosting mood, and reducing the risk of depression. However, neither mandarine nor Clementine contains vitamin D.
With both fruits containing about 0.1 milligrams of vitamin E per fruit, it’s not enough to bring about the beneficial effects associated with this nutrient.
Thiamine (vitamin B1)
Vitamin B1 is essential for growth, development, cellular function, and converting food into energy.
A medium-sized mandarin can provide about 0.1 milligrams, or 3 percent of your daily requirement, while one Clementine can offer 4 percent of the daily needs.
Riboflavin (vitamin B2) and niacin (vitamin B3)
Riboflavin is essential for reducing oxidative stress and nerve inflammation, while niacin helps keep your digestive system, nervous system, and skin healthy.
Both mandarin and Clementine have minimal amounts that can only meet 1-2 percent of your daily requirements.
Folate (vitamin B9).
Your body needs folate to form red blood cells and promote healthy cell growth and function. It’s also crucial in early pregnancy as it reduces the risk of birth defects in the brain and spine.
Consuming a single Clementine or mandarine can boost your intake by up to 4 percent of your daily requirements.
Potassium is an essential nutrient that helps the body eliminate excess sodium and balance blood pressure. Mandarine contains slightly higher potassium levels, with a medium fruit (88 grams) containing 146 milligrams, or 4 percent of your daily requirement, while a Clementine (74 grams) containing 131 milligrams.
Calcium is another essential mineral for healthy bones. Mandarins can provide about 3 percent of the daily requirements, while a clementine will only meet 2 percent of your needs.
Magnesium is an important mineral in the body, performing over 300 enzymatic reactions.
It can help maintain strong bones, lower blood pressure, produce energy, regulate heart contractility, improve learning ability, and many more.
Clementines and mandarins may not provide much of this essential nutrient, but each can offer up to 2 and 3 percent of your daily needs respectively.
Mandarins may be slightly higher in calories, with an average mandarin containing 40 calories compared to 35 calories in an average clementine.
In terms of antioxidants, both fruits have flavonoids and phenols, which have been linked to reduced free radicle damage and disease risk.
Where to buy clementines and mandarins
You can easily find clementines in almost every supermarket, grocery store, or farmers market.
Just look for small, round, orange-like fruits.
Health benefits of Clementine vs Mandarine
1. Clementines and mandarins are excellent sources of vitamin C
Although clementines are generally high in vitamin C, mandarins still have some amount to offer.
Vitamin C is an essential nutrient needed for various reasons in the body.
For one, vitamin C can boost the immune system by increasing the number of circulating white blood cells. White blood cells are immune cells that help the body fight infection.
Vitamin C in citrus fruits can also act as an antioxidant, helping neutralize free radicals in the body that might cause cellular damage leading to disease.
2. Clementines and mandarins can reduce the risk of cancer
Several studies have supported the fact that the antioxidants in mandarins and clementines can lower the risk of cancer.
Generally, citrus fruits, including mandarine and Clementine, are rich in vitamin C and other compounds, including flavonoids, alkaloids, coumarins, limonoids, carotenoids, phenol acids, and essential oils that can fight against cancer.
Some mechanisms behind this include preventing mutation and proliferation of cancer cells, protecting the cell DNA from damage, and stimulating apoptosis or programmed cancer cell death.
Numerous studies have confirmed these anti-cancer findings, some of which were compiled in a 2017 systemic review.
In this review, citrus juices and their extracts were shown to fight against cancer, including its development and progression.
3. Clementines and mandarins may lower blood pressure
High blood pressure or hypertension is a condition whereby the force of blood against your arterial walls is too high.
If not treated, high blood pressure can result in various health conditions, including stroke and heart disease.
Clementines contain potassium, a mineral that plays an important role in lowering blood pressure.
Potassium helps ease the tension in your blood vessel walls, causing them to relax and dilate, allowing for smooth blood flow, thus, a drop in blood pressure.
Also, the more potassium you eat, the more excess sodium you lose. In other words, potassium helps maintain healthy sodium levels in the blood.
Sodium is an important mineral in maintaining body-fluid balance, but too much of it pulls water into your bloodstream, which increases blood volume. With too much blood, the heart will have to exert a high amount of pressure to pump it, thus causing high blood pressure.
4. Clementines and mandarins can boost skin health
A regular intake of mandarins and clementines can give you flawless and glowing skin.
This is due to their high vitamin C content, which is crucial for collagen synthesis.
Collagen is a type of protein that promotes the elasticity and firmness of your skin. It thus can help improve sagging skin or prevent wrinkles and fine lines.
Vitamin C also acts as an antioxidant scavenging the free radicals from sun radiation and environmental pollution that might cause cell damage leading to premature signs of aging.
Also, vitamin A in mandarins can help reduce hyperpigmentation and sun damage, improve the appearance of wrinkles and sagging skin, boost skin cell turnover, and improve skin texture and tone.
Moreover, vitamin A can also stimulate collagen production.
In some studies, the compounds in mandarin essential oils have been shown to promote wound healing.
5. Clementines and mandarins may boost weight loss
Fiber and water-rich foods like clementines and mandarins help keep you full longer, which prevents unnecessary snacking that may contribute to weight gain.
Besides, they are sweet and can substitute your common sugary snacks that are often high in calories.
Research also shows that citrus fruits can speed up your fat-burning process, thus increasing energy expenditure that may result in weight loss.
6. Clementines and mandarins may lower cholesterol
Besides being cholesterol-free, mandarins and clementines are a good source of soluble fiber that keeps bad cholesterol from being absorbed into the body.
These fruits are especially high in a type of soluble fiber known as pectin. Pectin dissolves in water to form a gel-like substance that prevents cholesterol absorption into the bloodstream.
One study found that daily consumption of pectin-rich foods reduced LDL cholesterol by up to 10 percent.
In an analysis of 67 different studies, pectin was again shown to lower bad cholesterol (LDL) while the good one (HDL) remained unchanged. Generally, pectin reduced total cholesterol levels by up to 5-16 percent.
Easy ways to add clementine and mandarin to your diet:
- Breakfast smoothies
- Mandarin or clementine salsa
- Add them as toppings on pizza
- Throw them into salads
- Make mandarin orange or clementine pancakes
- Make some popsicles with greek yogurt
- Fruit salad
- Muffins with greek yogurt
- Mandarin orange cookies
- Mandarin orange or clementine cake
Mandarins and clementine are common citrus fruits that are often confused with each other, but they are not the same.
One of the key differences between the two is their taste. While mandarins may have some tartness, clementines are overly sweet.
Another key difference is that the skin of mandarins is too thin, while that of clementine is a bit thick.
Also, clementines are smaller than mandarins and are often seedless, while mandarins always contain seeds.
In terms of nutrition, they contain similar nutrients with a slight variation in the amounts each has.
A regular intake of both fruits can boost ski help, lower blood pressure, fight cancer, lower cholesterol, and enhance weight loss, among others.
You can easily incorporate them into the diet by juicing, adding them to salads, blending them with other smoothie ingredients, use them to make desserts or even cocktails. Just be creative and open to trying new things with the fruits, and you’ll surely enjoy them.
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