Satsumas at the San Antonio Botanical Center
For those of you who planted the Satsuma Tangarine Mandarin that we talked about earlier, you've got these beautiful orange turning fruit in your yard now. And believe it or not, of course these are getting ready or getting ripe, but so are these. These are already ready too, and they're green. Of course, a lot of people get confused about citrus and they think that it's got to be orange, I guess that's where they get the name orange. But a lot of times the sugar already develops in the orange before it turns the orange color. That's why a while back they used to try to put the orange dye on them to convince people that they were ready, even though the sugars are there. If you cut into them, as you can see I've cut into this one, and it's already orange and ready to eat, but yet the outside of it is still green, as you might see.
Now, this has been a good year for citrus in the Rio Grande Valley. We've got wonderful grapefruit down there, and we're just waiting for it to turn. Oranges and citrus turn colors, just about like the leaves on the trees do, they need a little cool weather to make them really get an orange color, even though the sweetness is there. Now these will turn oranger and will turn sweeter as the cool temperatures of the fall occur. So you can leave them on and they will get sweeter and oranger as the temperature progresses.
So don't worry, because you can go ahead and eat some of your Satsumas if they're already ready. One guy told me they make the best whiskey sours you ever put in your mouth. So the oranges are ready even though they're green.
This is Jerry Parsons, Vegetable Specialist for the Texas Agricultural Extension Service, the Weekend Gardener.
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