The Satsumas of New Orleans, USA

The Satsumas of New Orleans, USA
The best oranges in India are from Nagpur and when winter comes we buy Kg’s of the fruit to eat in the house. Loose jackets with the most delicious flavour and taste. Infact when we were kids my parents always put Nagpuri’s into our Christmas stockings as they along with crab apples were loved by us kids and especially me. This year I thought I had missed the orange season all together, as I was in the US with my son and his family for Christmas. By the time I was to return in Jan the oranges would be gone.

Then we went to New Orleans for Thanksgiving -- driving 10 hours away to Louisiana and I was introduced to the most wonderful orange of them all -- The Satsuma. They were growing in plenty on the tree in the garden, in my DIL’s aunt’s home. The tree was bending over with the weight of the fruit and she had covered them with plastic packets to save them from the Possums and Rats, who made a feast of them every night. One did not mind if they ate the fruit in their entirety, but they would just mess them up, eat a segment or two and waste the rest.

The plastic bags saved the fruit for all of us to enjoy and I thought it was quite wonderful, that they ripened to a wonderful bright orange in the plastic bag too. We have squirrels doing that to our pomegranates in our farm in Hoskote and we put old socks on them like my father taught us to save a few for us. I have taken the seeds I saved to plant back in India once I go back in our farm.

“ Let’s take a scissors and cut off the bags and let Alaina pick the fruit herself,” said Anne. And so for a happy half and hour Alaina picked the fruit carefully off the tree after taking off the plastic bags.

Reading up on Satsumas I learn that they are cousins of mandarin oranges, but are typically more yellow in colour and easier to peel as they are loose jackets too. This large citrus fruit is seasonal during the winter months and has such a special significance throughout New Orleans and the rest of Louisiana.”The fall chill of December marks for Louisianans, the height of the much anticipated satsuma season,” said Anne.

Satsumas are cousins of mandarin oranges, but are typically more yellow in colour and easier to peel. Apparently they are sold in farmer’s markets and enjoyed in campus dining halls and added to restaurant menus. This tasty fruit seems to sneak its way into every part of New Orleans residents lives. You’re not a local until you have your favorite pop-up roadside satsuma vendor or know somebody with a satsuma tree in their yard.Anne saves a lot of the fruit to distribute to her neighbours, friends and relatives.

According to the net there are five reasons why New Orleans loves satsumas:
Satsuma trees are commonly seen throughout the New Orleans area. Rarely do the trees grow tall. Each tree reaps a healthy supply of oranges from late October to early February, creating a prime winter crop.In New Orleans, it’s never hard to find satsumas. They are sold at higher-end chains like Whole Foods, but even as local as the side of the county road. Residents of New Orleans are known to have their trusted source for satsumas, and many opt for the roadside pop-up merchants.

Satsumas,are named after a former province of Japan, and are seen as symbols of abundance and good fortune during the Lunar New Year. It is common to present them to friends and family as gifts in Asian cultures. According to the Chinese-- satsumas with the leaves attached are luckier than others and guarantee more luck and wealth.

Also because New Orleans is known for rich, heavy food, like gumbo and jambalaya, the satsuma offers a light and sweet flavour as a contrast to the flavour of the heavy food . They are easy to peel, full of vitamin-C, and make a prime healthy snack, jam, or juice.

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