When it comes to fruits, we all have our favourites but do you know the difference between tangerines vs oranges . For some, it is the resilient flesh of apples, packing a ton of nutrition underneath, ready to defend the body from the slightest hint of sickness. For others, it might be the tender insides of a banana, curved like a comma, a powerhouse of potassium that refuses to run out. Of course, some might prefer the long wait into the summer, just so they could behold the tiny sunrises caught in the silhouettes of mangoes, all those ripening yellows signalling the beginning of something new.
But no matter what we prefer, who can deny the cheerful charm of citrus and how it fills our senses with delight? Citrus, which comes in so many shapes, in the sourness of limes and lemons or the saccharine aftertaste of tangerines and oranges.
Is there anyone who has not smiled at the sight of orange slices, sitting on a plate, ready to find a warm home between your teeth? Surely, we have all found a love language in the peeling of tangerines, the sharing of the sweetness between two mouths? But what if you had to pick between the two? In the competition between tangerines vs. oranges, which one would win your heart?
Let’s start this tournament by getting to know our first competitor: tangerines. Tangerines originated in South-East Asia. They received their infamous name because they were imported through the city of Tangier, Morocco.
Within the citrus family, tangerines belong to the C. tangerina species. Viewed from a botanical perspective, tangerines are a sub-group of mandarins. They grow on trees that are smaller in size compared to orange trees. The resulting fruit is pulpy and tender, with its signature sweet fragrance.
Let’s get to know our second competitor: oranges. Oranges originated in Asia, around Southern China and North-East India. Its name travelled through the tunnels of various languages, from being nāranga in Sanskrit, to nārang in Persian and then nāranj in Arabic. When it reached the French, it was called pomme d’orenge. It was from here that Middle English adapted it and settled on the name we know it as today.
Fun fact: the colour orange was named from the appearance of fruit!
Within the citrus family, oranges belong to the Citrus x sinesis species. They are a hybrid of pomelos and mandarins. Oranges come in many varieties, such as common, navel, blood and acidless oranges. These are all the secrets packed within the delicious, fresh and juicy fruit.
Now that we know the background of both fruits, it is time to compare the basic traits. While tangerines and oranges might seem more similar than not, they are several areas where they shine in different ways. Let’s discuss the highlights:
Though oranges come in several sizes, they are usually bigger than tangerines. Oranges are also more round in shape, whereas tangerines are more flattened in comparison.
When ripe, oranges are firm and heavier, while tangerines are quite softer. Also, oranges come in the shades of yellow and orange, except for certain varieties such as blood oranges, which are pigmented red. Comparatively, tangerines are more reddish-orange.
Of course, taste is the most important factor in the match between tangerines vs. oranges. Though taste varies across different types, tangerines are usually sweeter than oranges, more flavourful, leaving only a short aftertaste behind.
Oranges tend to be more tart and acidic, having a pH of around 2.4 to 3. However, blood oranges are a bit different, having a richer, more berry-like taste, though they are not too sweet.
Tangerines and oranges have similar nutritional value, both containing high water content and being mostly carbs, with negligible fat. However, tangerines contain more calories per serving. In terms of vitamins, it is interesting to note that oranges have double the amount of Vitamin C, which is an incredible antioxidant. Antioxidants help in building immunity, helping prevent diseases, such as heart problems and possibly even cancer.
But tangerines come at the top when it comes to Vitamin A, which is extremely beneficial for eyesight, reduces acne and also supports bone health. Not only that, but Vitamin A might also aid in the prevention of certain types of cancers, such as cervical, lung, bladder cancer and Hodgkin’s lymphoma, amongst others. Oranges also contain more fibres, which you can benefit from if you eat the fruit whole, instead of juicing it.
Finally, the most important part: which of the two is better to eat? Well, tangerines are usually easier to peel, having loose, thin skin. Once you tear the skin, the rest of it easily comes off. Comparatively, oranges have tighter skin, which means that it requires more effort to remove. Thus, tangerine might just be the quicker and easier snack to carry around.
However, both tangerines and oranges make delicious additions to your food. They can be enjoyed by themselves, added to fruit salads or other dishes. When choosing fruit, it is important to pick a healthy, ripe one. With tangerines, always go for the ones deeper in colour, semi-soft and having no brown spots. With oranges, choose the ones that have smoothly textured skin and are firm when touched. Thus, you can switch up between either depending on how you want to decorate your palette.
So, what’s the final verdict between tangerines vs. oranges? Well, the answer is clear: why limit yourself to one? Whether it is the honeyed pulp of tangerines, or sour and sweet juice between the skin of oranges, there is no way that you could go wrong. All you need to do is make sure to choose the best, ripe ones to include in your meal and reap all the benefits of them.
Tangerines and oranges are a great way to sweeten your nutrition game, by allowing yourself to go for the natural sugars over the saturated ones. By doing this, not only are you allowing yourself a fresh treat, but also looking after your health, which is especially important during such difficult times.
After all, who can say no to use the stone of fruit to kill both birds of flavour and fitness in one go?
Also Read; Orange: Amazing Health Benefits