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What is the white stuff on mandarin oranges?

What is the white stuff on mandarin oranges?

During the festive season of Chinese New Year, as you indulge in the delightful sweetness of mandarin oranges, have you ever wondered about that peculiar white layer that clings to the juicy segments? Let's delve into the fascinating world of orange pith and discover why it's more than just an obstacle while peeling. 

What's that White Stuff on Your Mandarin Oranges?

If you're a fan of mandarin oranges, you've likely encountered the challenge of peeling off that resilient, spongy layer. This is none other than the orange pith, akin to the white stuff on your pomelo. Contrary to being a mere inconvenience, the orange pith serves a purpose in the realm of oranges.

 Thick Orange Pith wrapped around a mandarin orange

The Role of Orange Pith

Orange pith is the white, sponge-like substance that clings to the orange segments when you peel the fruit. Where I like to describe it as the "connective tissue" of the orange, Although it possesses a slightly bitter taste and a denser texture, it helps to contribute to the overall character of the citrus fruit. 

Is it Safe to Eat?

As you contemplate whether to meticulously remove every bit of pith before enjoying your mandarin, rest assured – it's entirely safe to consume. There are articles dispeling any age-old tales suggesting harm. In fact, oranges, encompassing the pith, are abundant in vitamin C, offering an immune-boosting component to your festive snacking. 

The Benefits of Orange Pith

Beyond its safety, orange pith brings additional nutritional benefits to the table. Where it is richness in fiber and is a crucial element often lacking in many diets. Incorporating more fiber from natural, whole foods is an excellent strategy to enhance your daily fiber intake.

So, this Chinese New Year, as you unwrap the mandarin oranges and encounter that resilient white layer, embrace the full experience. Instead of discarding the pith, consider it a nutritious component adding depth to your festive citrus feast. It's not just an edible part of the fruit; it's a hidden gem of health during the Lunar New Year celebrations.

If Orange Pith Is Still a Hindrance

For those who just can't bear the sight of the pith, we've got a tested solution for you: BOILING!

Yes, boiling oranges might sound weird, but it's a game-changer when it comes to dealing with the persistent pith. Boiling softens the citrus peels, allowing the coarse pith to remain attached to the peel rather than clinging to the delicate flesh. This makes the peeling process significantly easier and cleaner. Here's how you can do it: simply submerge your oranges in a saucepan of boiling water for a few seconds. Be mindful not to exceed this time, as prolonged exposure to heat may start cooking the citrus. Once done, retrieve the oranges, let them cool, and voilà – a hassle-free solution to your pith-peeling predicament!

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