Good Things Start with S: Satsumas!

I’m always surprised that winter – the season of dull, monotonous grey tones and all things drab – produces some of the most vibrant, boldly flavored fruit out there. It’s a good thing, too – if winter were all dirty slush and frozen nose hairs, I don’t know that I’d be able to stand it. But thankfully we have the wonder that is citrus fruit to keep us going.

And, dear readers, I am indeed kept going, because there’s a new S in my life: satsuma.

Small orange satsuma on a white plate.

So bright!

I’ve already mentioned how much I enjoy my co-op’s monthly reader, and now I’m even more convinced that it’s always worth a thorough scouring. Last month featured an article about winter fruits wherein the author exuberantly and unabashedly sung the praises of the satsuma, citing it as her all-time favorite small winter citrus fruit. I initially wrote it off as hyperbole, but I gamely picked up a few satsumas when I saw them at Whole Foods.

The rest, as they say, is scurvy-fightin’ history.

S and I devoured the fruit, and I immediately high-tailed it to the co-op to invest in a five-pound crate of the organic orange orbs. They’re just so perfect! The rind is extremely easy to peel (unless you’re S, who always asks me to make the first incision because he’s a nail-biter and lacks piercing abilities) and comes off with minimal effort. Inside are juicy orange slices just bursting with the flavor I’ve always craved from a clementine but never seemed to find – bold and sweet with a much-appreciated tart bite, not enough to scare off grapefruit-haters but just enough to create a more complex eating experience. Clementines are often one-note fruits, with a slightly-too-sweet flavor that quickly becomes distasteful as soon as they start to get a little past their prime. Not so with satsumas. They’re more robust and hearty; my literarily-bent mind can’t help but think of them as the hale Jo March to the Beth March that is a clementine – sweet, but a little sickly.

We’re nearly through our five-pound crate, and I’m crossing my fingers and toes that the co-op hasn’t sold out of them yet. You can bet we’ll stop by the co-op tonight to pick some up – that is, as long as we’re not too exhausted from seeing a midnight showing of The Hobbit last night! (I write this on Thursday evening, counting down the hours till we leave.)

Have you tried satsumas? If not, what’s your favorite winter fruit?

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