The Kishu mandarin proofs that good things can come in small packages. A delicious, easy to peel seedless mandarin that will equally wow you with it's flavor and it's adorableness. Also marketed as Kishu tangerines, Kishu kisses, and Lil' Ninja mandarins.
Isn't it so cute!!!!!
Just look at those little, tiny mandarins. They are adorable.
They are called Kishu mandarins. One of my favorite varieties from California. Smallest mandarins I ever encountered, even smaller than an average Pixie. Their size is about the same size as a golf ball or walnut.
I first encountered them at a couple specialty stores here in Michigan. The $9.99/lb pound price tag, limited the amount of these little gems I was going to buy.
Then in 2018, I was in California for Christmas and was able to hit up a local farmer's market and find them for $3/lb. So I got to indulge in these little gems and indulge we did. They were the highlight of the trip in terms of food. My wife loved them as well.
❓ What is a Kishu Mandarin?
The Kishu belongs to a family of small mandarins that have their origins in China.
The Kishu are in season in the U.S. from December through February.
Look for them at farmer's market in California or in specialty grocery stores like Whole Foods Market or the Fresh Market.
There is an excellent article in the LA Times if you want to learn more about them.
They may also be marketed as tangerines. The industry has really blurred the definition of what is a mandarin and what is a tangerine. Ripe to You, the brand name for a Central California grower, sells them as Lil' Ninja mandarins. I have also heard them marketed at a Wegman's store as Kishu Kisses.
What Does It Taste Like
Here are are my ratings (scale of 1-10) for the Kishu mandarin.
|Seeded or Seedless||Seedless|
It's a nice mandarin. It's equally balance between sweet and acidic. The flavor is a step up from the popular Clementine mandarin. They are in season at the same time as the Satsuma mandarin, which I think Kishu are sweeter than. My wife certainly picks Kishu over Satsuma!
It is extremely easy to peel as there is a pocket of air between the skin and the segments inside. I would say they are one of the easiest varieties to peel.
The segments are really small. You probably could pop the entire thing in your mouth at one time.
They make an excellent choice for kid's lunches. You know they would be great on a salad.
Too small for juicing for sure and harvesting the zest would be a challenge. Kishu are best left to just enjoy as is.
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✋ Have you had Kishu mandarins before? Make sure to leave a comment below and share your thoughts.