Winter is a great giver of gifts: lots of time off of work for the holidays (especially here in Kazakhstan), guilt-free holiday over-indulgences, SNOW! and these little oranges. Which I had completely forgotten about when winter rolled around, despite the fact that they became a mainstay and staple in our home last year.
They’re mandarin oranges, folks. Yup, exactly the mini variety that we used to eat in those overly-sweetened fruit cups as kids. Except that they’re amazing in their true, real-life form. No added sugar necessary. The trick is to buy them at the Green Bazaar, or from one of the street-side fruit vendors, with the leaves on.
LIKE CANDY. They peel like a dream, and they honestly couldn’t have come at a better time, as I’ve spent the last three days lying in bed, like death warmed over, fighting off THE COLD FROM HELL. Instant Vitamin C infusion! And because these little guys weigh only about an ounce a piece, both Sam and I will easily eat six to ten of them in a single sitting. Hey, it’s fruit, right?
Much of the produce that we eat here in Kazakhstan is imported—these oranges (obviously) included. Mandarins (a large class of citrus fruit that includes clementines and tangerines) originated in south-eastern Asia, but are now grown throughout the world. Sadly, I’m still puzzled as to exactly where these sweet little jewels come from. Certainly some garden of the gods…