How To Harvest and Store Tangerines

Having a big backyard allows you to grow fruit trees. If you are looking to grow a citrus tree, try tangerines. Tangerines belong to the mandarin orange family. The skin is usually red-orange or red depending on the geographical location of the tree and the time of the year when you harvest the fruit. Slip-skin orange or kid glove fruit are monikers for tangerines because the skin can be easily peeled off. If you are looking for something citrusy to snack on, tangerines are perfect because the segments can easily be separated from each other.

Tools needed

  • Pruners or shears
  • Gardening gloves
  • Pail and cold water
  • Kitchen towel for drying
  • Basket or container

Harvesting and storing tangerines

To harvest and store these sweet oranges, here is what you need to remember.

  • Harvest only completely ripened tangerines. Winter time and early spring are the best times to harvest tangerines. Feel the fruits. They should be heavy for their size, firm and plump. This means the tangerine is full of juice. The fruit should not feel hollow at all. The skin should be shiny, usually with a deep red-orange color. There should be no blemishes and wrinkles on the skin. Ripe tangerines have a sweet scent about them. If unsure, pick one and taste the fruit for ripeness. Get rid of tangerines that have grown molds, are overripe or show signs of decay.
  • Use pruners or shears when harvesting. The stem should be clipped close to the tangerine fruit as possible using sharp pruners. Make sure you are holding the tangerine in your hand before clipping away. If you plan to use the fruits immediately, you can twist the fruit off the stem. Always rinse the fruit in a container of cold water then dry the fruit immediately.
  • Arrange the tangerines in a basket. For fruits that you will use immediately, place the tangerines in a basket. Situate the basket in an area away from direct sunlight. There should be enough air circulating around the fruits. You can store the tangerines in room temperature for three days.
  • Place the fruits in the refrigerator. For fruits that you won’t use right after harvesting, you can put them inside the fridge. Tangerines that are refrigerated usually last more than three days to about a week.
  • Get rid of spoiled tangerines. Make sure to check the tangerines daily whether they are refrigerated or not. Get rid of fruits that show signs of decay or have started to grow molds.

Note:  Plugging (twisting the fruit from the stem) is usually discouraged. This causes the tangerine to spoil quickly because a portion of the peel is exposed to air. Make sure you will use the fruit immediately when you use the plugging method of harvesting. Otherwise, use your trusty pruners to do the job.

Tangerines are part of the Christmas-tradition. Many kitchen counters and dinner tables are decorated with tangerines in the cold winter months. This highly nutritious citrus contains Vitamin C, potassium, calcium, niacin, thiamin, magnesium and folic acid. Harvesting can be done quickly with a pair of pruners or by simply twisting the fruits from its stems. Tangerines can be placed in baskets away from direct sunlight after picking or kept in the refrigerator so they last longer.


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