Even cows like tangerines. Joe Stein, a small farmer and rancher in Arcadia, feeds a just-off-the-tree tangerine to one of his cattle. Note the fruit’s vibrant-orange skin. / J.D. Vivian

Tangerines offer easy-to-peel skin, lots of vitamin C, sweet taste, and they’re plentiful in Florida. No wonder, then, that they’re the second-most-produced citrus fruit in the world; No. 1 is the orange.

Tangerines originally were cultivated in southeastern China and in northeastern India about 3,000 years ago. But their name derives from a port in North Africa (for more on that, read on).

Here are five fun facts about tangerines.

Five fun facts about tangerines

1) You can “drink” the skin. “The oil from the skin is actually a signature ingredient in several orange liqueurs” (https://blog.halegroves.com).

2) What’s in a name? Plenty, in the case of these delectables. The name “tangerine” originates from Tangier, Morocco. That was the port from which the first batches of tangerines were shipped to Europe (https://blog.halegroves.com).

William G. Roe & Sons Farm’s tangerine grove. The Winter Haven-based farm, founded in 1926, grows five varieties of tangerines, as well as other citrus fruits. / Contributed

3) Florida is not No. 1 — but we’re close. China produces more tangerines than any other country; and California grows more of the sweet fruit than the Sunshine State, so we’re second in the U.S.

4) And how did tangerines get into the Sunshine State? They were first cultivated as a crop in the Americas by a farmer in Palatka known only as Major Atway. He was said to have imported the fruits from Tangier, Morocco, probably in the 1830s or early 1840s. He sold his farm in 1843 (tonsoffacts.com).

5) Tangerines vs. oranges: Tangerines are smaller and less rounded than oranges. They taste sweeter and stronger than an orange. The tangerine peel is very thin, with very little bitter white mesocarp; this makes them easier to peel and to split into segments (tonsoffacts.com).

Nutrition (USDA)
Serving size: medium (2-1/2-inch-diameter tangerine weighing 88 grams)
Calories: 47
Total fat: .3 g
Sodium: 2 milligrams
Potassium: 146 mg
Carbohydrates: 12 g
Fiber: 1.6 g
Sugar: 9 g

For nine tangerine recipes, visit theviewfromgreatisland.com/?s=tangerine.