The clementine (citrus clementina) is a young citrus fruit that dates back to 100 years and was named after its discoverer : Father Clément.
History has two versions : a different fruit simply discovered accidentally by an observant gardener, or resulting from an intentional crossbreeding? The clementine was born shortly after 1900 in Algeria in the gardens of the Misserghin orphanage. Botanically speaking, it is a hybrid between a mandarin and an orange.
The original tree yielding good fruits was reproduced via grafting, and the fruit progressively earned an important place in the small citrus fruit production schedule, to the point of now being preferred to the mandarin, since it has no (or few) seeds.
In 100 years, several varieties of clementines became available, most of them from mutations, which were in turn identified for their qualities (taste, earliness, fruit size, ease of peeling, yield, juiciness, colour, hardiness...). The array of varieties allows us to harvest clementines from the end of October to the end of January.
The varieties found in Corsica are mostly "Fine de Corse" clementines have a thin skin, are very juicy and tart, with a grade slightly lower than that of the Spanish types. They reach maturity around mid-November and are harvested in several pickings until the end of January, rarely beyond.
In our organic orchards, you will also find Nules clementines during the same period. The fruits of this variety have a more grainy skin, are larger and have a crunchier flesh.
You will also find early fruits, which are picked every year from October 20-25. These early fruits have an inferior taste quality compared to the full-season varieties, but they are attractive in that they allow harvesting to begin 3 weeks to a month earlier. They remain a strong minority among the total production volume : their yield is lower, and some years, it is difficult to have fruits reach maturity and harvest. This explains their higher price.
Our orchards boast two old early varieties for clementines, which have a good taste quality : the Corsica variety, which is similar to "Fine de Corse" but with a smaller calibre and a yellowish orange skin, and the Caffin variety, which has a thicker, reddish orange skin. We have permanently abandoned the SRA 2000 variety. This led us to make the difficult decision to uproot several hectares of orchards still young and growing, but this recent variety, too sensitive to the attacks of the Mediterranean fruit fly, was ill-suited to organic agriculture and also had the major flaw of having a poor taste quality.
Good to know
In accordance with our ethics, no prolonged storage and no ethylene treatment. The purpose of these practices are to obtain, after harvesting, a skin that is completely orange. As a result, our clementines have the natural colouring of the variety for the season.
• Until the end of November, some clementines have some green in them at maturity (the temperature variations are not enough to obtain a complete disappearance of the chlorophyll pigments and show the orange pigments).
• From December, with the arrival of the cold weather, all of the clementines become dark orange.
A clementine with a leaf still attached is always picked fresh.
THE "FINE DE CORSE" CLEMENTINE – A GOOD-LOOKING STOCK
• 5 small clementines (or 3 large ones) meet our daily need in vitamin C.
• They contain 10 vitamins and seven minerals to strengthen the body at the heart of winter.
• Easy to carry and peel; you can take clementines with you anywhere.
• Children enjoy their sweet flavour.
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