It has been an early start to the Queensland Imperial Mandarin season. The crop this year looks to be particularly good. The first mandarins of the year are the Imperial variety from Central Queensland around the Gayndah district. Imperial are a medium sized mandarin, easy to peel, and don’t have a lot of seeds. Hence they are extremely popular in the school lunch box. One mandarin contains nearly double your daily requirement of vitamin C. To me none of the many other varieties of mandarins eat like an Imperial; they are standalone the best. After May, we move south for these beauties and the season extends to about the middle of August some years, but not always. I am convinced the best fruit most years is the Queensland fruit. I prefer to buy the medium sized fruit as it is less likely to be dry. Some steady rainfall last week has enabled the fruit to size up nicely.
HOW TO PICK
For a juicier imperial mandarin, pick fruit which feels heavy for its size, has glossy skin and is softer to touch. Avoid fruit that is rock hard and does not yield a little to pressure.
HOW TO STORE
Store in a cool place for up to a week. If you would like to keep them longer, store in the fridge.