Clementines, a type of fruit thought to be a cross between mandarin oranges and regular sweet oranges, are popular snacks when they are in season. The miniature citrus fruit is known for its balance of tart and sweet taste, seedless interior and easy-to-peel skin.
Clementines are in season from approximately October through February. Clementines grown in the United States, mostly in California and Florida, are at the peak of their season in December and January. Spain and Morocco also export clementines to the United States throughout the winter.
Clementines can be traditionally traced to Father Clement, an Algerian monk who lived in the early 1900s. It is believe that he crossed a mandarin orange and a sweet orange and began growing them. Some people believe that clementines were actually present in Asia far before then and made their way into Europe.
Clementines have a few other names because of their characteristics and seasonal nature. Some people refer to them as "Christmas oranges" because they are sold around Christmas time. Other people call them "zipper oranges" because they are easy to peel and their skin zips right off.