Japanese Fruit: End of Summer Aomikan (Green Tangerine) 青みかん
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!
Actually, these aomikan are getting fairly yellowish. More expensive aomikan, especially those from a fruit specialty store would be deeper green.
Expertly peeled by Paku. Japanese like to have the skin be neatly in one piece after peeling.
Aomikan on Blue
Japanese often have difficulty articulating the difference between blue and green. I think this photo makes it clear!
Aomikan Inside and Out
Inside is mikan orange.
Aomikan on the Supermarket Shelves
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 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!