Japanese Fruit: End of Summer Aomikan

Japanese Fruit: End of Summer Aomikan (Green Tangerine) 青みかん

Japanese Fruit: End of Summer Aomikan 青みかん
Aomikan, or ‘green tangerine’ mark the beginning of autumn. They are more sour than sweet and make a wonderfully refreshing snack in the still hot late afternoons and early evenings of this season.

The early autumn aomikan has a delightful, berry-like ‘tingle on the tongue’ tartness to it, similar to the sensation of a perfectly fresh strawberry.

The mikan (ripe) tangerine are a winter staple and favorite of Japanese. During the New Year’s holiday, Oshogatsu, families will often buy a whole crate or more of mikan to enjoy together during the lazy several days of the family-centered, Christmas-like celebration.

In this season though, mikan are not quite ripe, but that makes them all the more tasty! Aomikan is one of Peko’s favorite fruit of all time. Mikan only stay ‘ao’, green naturally for a short time, so this is the time to enjoy them!

Ao, literally means blue, but in the case of aomikan it means green. Japanese often don’t differentiate between blue and green clearly. And that irks Peko.

Aomikan don’t just look exotic and taste great, they have medicinal value! Aomikan contain lots of hesperidin, which is an antioxidant. Hesperidin strengthens blood vessels and reduces cholesterol and blood pressure. There are lots of supplement type products available in Japan now that are extracted from aomikan. Now this is all very important stuff, but for a foodie, most importantly, it tastes novel and damn good!

Enough talk, now feast your eyes!

Aomikan
Japanese Fruit: End of Summer Aomikan 青みかん
Actually, these aomikan are getting fairly yellowish. More expensive aomikan, especially those from a fruit specialty store would be deeper green.

Aomikan
Japanese Fruit: End of Summer Aomikan 青みかん

Aomikan Peeled
Japanese Fruit: End of Summer Aomikan 青みかん
Expertly peeled by Paku. Japanese like to have the skin be neatly in one piece after peeling.

Aomikan on Blue
Japanese Fruit: End of Summer Aomikan 青みかん
Japanese often have difficulty articulating the difference between blue and green. I think this photo makes it clear!

Aomikan Inside and Out
Japanese Fruit: End of Summer Aomikan 青みかん
Inside is mikan orange.

Aomikan on the Supermarket Shelves
Japanese Fruit: End of Summer Aomikan 青みかん
I took this photo with Paku’s new and shiny iPhone a few weeks ago. Now, citrus, especially oranges and mikan are available year-round in Japan but green mikan are only available for a short time in the early autumn. By the way, these aomikan were grown in a greenhouse to make them ‘ready’ by Obon, in early August.

Aomikan Abroad
Aomikan
is one of those things that could easily be available back in the US, where I (Peko) am from. But, I have never seen any. Have you?

Aomikan aren’t a new and exotic fruit, they are just a new and exotic approach to enjoying our existing tangerines!

15 Responses to “Japanese Fruit: End of Summer Aomikan”

  1. Thanks for all the nice comments:-) Aomikan have an amazing kaori, one of my favourite. Sadly I’ve never seen them sold in the US (at least not around San Francisco or New York)…

    L and I are going to be in Tokyo for a few days over Oshogatsu. Any suggestions on things we must do? We’ve thought about shacking up in a Ryokan in Hakone (we stayed at Hakone Ginyu a few years ago and loved it) as well as hopping on the Nozomi down to Kyoto (I’ve only been there once and L has never been)… I’m guessing a lot of stuff is closed around then for the holidays? Also is it totally crazy to expect any restaurants to be open on the 1st serving osechi ryori?

  2. Chaz says:

    Okay, I really must have these. I’m in the NYC area. Surely there must be some way to get them here.

    I’ve sent a note to a friend in Tokyo in the hope he’ll take pity and express me a couple.

  3. Boaz says:

    I have never seen green tangerines in the US (at least not in San Diego).
    However, in Israel they are quite abundant now. Every fruit stand sells the green tangerines (and while they are not very sweet, they are also not sour, and are very tasty). Green oranges can also be found.

  4. P-T says:

    I used to have lots of green tangerines in Malaysia when I was little but in recent years they’re not as readily found. Pity really, my family and I really loved them, ate them everyday almost.

  5. Paku Paku says:

    Hello Marc, spending Oshogatsu in Japan sounds very nice! Yes, staying at Ryokan is very nice and relaxing. Actually it is my ideal way of spending Shogats. If you want to stay at a good ryokan, I think you’d better make reservation soon. I used to work at a good ryokan in Gion, and I know that shogatsu customers always make reservation for the next year, when they leave. If you stay somewhere else and want to enjoy Osechi, you can buy them from department stores on new year’s eve ,or you can order online beforehand and get is delivered to your accommodation. Many stores will be closed on New Year’s day, but will open on the next day. People visit shrine and pray for the year on New Years day, at midnight. If you do so, your year will be wonderful, too!

  6. Debby says:

    It’s gorgeous! And “green tangerine” just sounds like it should be a song. :)

  7. Hillary says:

    Fruit and veggies are becoming more and more interesting. First it was green peas in purple pods, and now this tangerine with green skin!

  8. […] cutting into this exotic Japanese Aokiman fruit, you might think it’s a lime because of it’s green skin. The orange inside definitely […]

  9. Charlie Sommers says:

    I was in Japan many years ago and loved mikan. I don’t remember having seen them sold green then. Pity!!

  10. Goncalo says:

    I love this fruit. And is not only on Japan that it grows. My grandmother has a green tangerine tree on her backyard, here in Portugal. Now is the time that they are more tasty. A single tree is enough for a big familiy (8-10 persons) for about 1-2 months, depending on how much fruits you eat :) Simply delicious.

  11. connie says:

    this fruit is so good! i could eat one every day. i wonder if theres a blue, or red tangering

  12. Erik says:

    looking for a tiny japanese fruit that is about the size of a marble with a stem that resembles possibly a tiny kiwi. you bit it and it makes your tongue and lips tingle for a couple minutes. what is this fruit.

  13. […] I just love the look of the Aomikan. Apartment Therapy’s Kitchn tells me it’s “a green tangerine with orange […]

  14. Anna says:

    I bought 3 green tangerines (amoikan) today in the store I visit almost every day to buy fresh fruit and veggies(Ridgewood, NY).I have never seen them before. They are quite tasty but I wouldn’t buy them any more.

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