Mandarin essential oil is extracted by cold expression from the peel of the mandarin fruit and is a member of the orange family. It can be produced as yellow, green or red depending upon the origin, maturity or species of the fruit. It is also considered to be one of the safest citrus essential oils for using in flavouring, fragrances and aromatherapy.
As the name suggests, mandarin plants are native to China. From there, they went to Europe and now Italy is one of the biggest producers of mandarin Oil. The tree is also grown in plantations in South America, with Brazil and Argentina the two largest producing countries.
Unlike the Citrus sinensis tree (orange oil or sweet orange) the mandarin tree is usually smaller in size. Once ripened sufficiently (depending on the desired outcome of the oil) harvesting is usually done by hand as these delicate fruits could sustain bruising or damage if mechanical harvesting equipment is used.
Red and yellow mandarin is distilled from fresh, ripened fruit peel. Green mandarin is distilled from the unripe fruit of the mandarin tree, yielding a sharper greener oil than that of red and yellow mandarin.
Apart from the obvious use as a flavouring agent in the food and beverages, we also find mandarin oil in cosmetics, body care products and perfumes. Additionally this oil has therapeutic uses. These include cytophylactic, digestive, circulatory, anti spasmodic and antiseptic uses to name a few.
The season for mandarin in Italy has begun; and the first of the lot will be the green mandarins which will be processed. The other mellower and ripened mandarins will be processed a bit later, around January onwards. Italy is witnessing its second consecutive poor mandarin crop. This is because there is a marked apathy towards renewing the old plantations by way of new investments. Less green mandarin means less ripe mandarin and, as a consequence, the result could be a reduction of availability of red mandarin for the industry. In addition, if the fresh fruit market is booming, then it poses another challenge since it implies less fruit for the processing industry. The total crop is estimated to be around 22,000 to 25,000 MT. Total production is expected to touch 25,000 MT, a 20 to 30% reduction from last year’s production figures. Usually 10,000 to 15,000 MT are earmarked for processing into oil. There is anticipation of a price hike due to the smaller crop, as well as poor carryover for both juice and oil.
Market price Euro 77.00 /kilo (Red)
Market price Euro 82.00 /kilo (Yellow)
Market price Euro 83.00 /kilo (Green)
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