It’s Satsuma Time Again!


Updated 11/3: Welcome Chow.com visitors!

Photo: A supremed Louisiana Satsuma. (Jason Perlow)

It’s the beginning of November, so you know what that means! No, not time to start stocking up with on-sale leftover bags of HFCS-laden industrial confections for last week’s costumed brats. It’s time for Satsumas! Yes, the juicy and wonderful loose-skinned Mandarins that come from Southern Louisiana.

If you’ve never had Louisiana citrus before, it is sensational and a true eye opener, and totally worth the premium of having it shipped to you. Louisiana only produces a fraction of the produce that Florida and California does, but in my opinion the Satsumas that are grown in Louisiana are far superior to mandarins grown in those states and the clementines brought in from Spain. The Southern Louisiana climate is ideal for these fruits, which have a highly aromatic peel that is literally almost falling off in the first place and are absolutely brimming with sweet and tangy juice.

Here’s a bit of interesting info from Charles over at LaLagniappe.com:

“Orange trees will only survive Louisiana winters in the areas near the Gulf of Mexico. Even in those areas, we usually have a severe freeze every 10 years or so that cause major damage to the orchards. But we’re a persistent bunch and always replant and try again <grin>. Most orchards were southeast of New Orleans, along the Mississippi River as it heads into the Gulf. That was the area hardest hit by Katrina. Most of those orchards were wiped out and all sustained major damage from salt water and winds. The oranges we sell come from an orchard also along the Mississippi River, but northwest of New Orleans, just across the river from the New Orleans airport. This area was spared the worst of the storm and the trees were somewhat protected from the eastern winds by the Mississippi River levee.”

And don’t forget to order Red Navel oranges from Louisiana either:

“The best kept secret of south LA citrus is the red Navel oranges. Navels can not withstand as much cold as the Satsumas or Louisiana Sweets, so we lose some every time there is a decent freeze. However, those that survive and the best Navel oranges I have ever eaten. They are somewhat rare and seldom seen for sale since almost all are consumed by the growers or their friends and relatives. They look like a ruby red grapefruit when cut open, but believe me they are *all* Navel! Maybe I am just prejudiced, and maybe it is because you never really get a tree ripened Navel elsewhere, but I really believe they are the best tasting oranges in the world. And I’ve eaten oranges from Israel to California to Brazil.”

Here’s a video I took in November of 2005, where I had a 40lb box of Satsumas sent to me from Simon Citrus Farm.

Simon is going to be selling Satsumas again this year but the trees got pretty beat up by Katrina and are still recovering, so I am going to give them a break this time. This year I ordered two boxes from Charles at LaLagniappe.com, who seems to have trees utterly filled with fruit according to photos he’s supplied me with:

A Satsuma orchard northwest of New Orleans (Charles Copes)

Satsuma fruit closeup (Charles Copes)

Satsumas are picked at this color in the first part of the harvest. The fruit is juicy ripe inside even though the color is a mottled orange-green. Two weeks later, they are bright orange. (Charles Copes)

Don’t be afraid of ordering 40lbs worth. It’s totally easy to eat four or five in one sitting because they are so easy to peel and they are small fruits. The zest is phenomenal for using in cakes and pastry, Chinese stir fries (the most killer Orange Beef you’ve ever had) or for making liquor infusions — just grate up a ton of the zest with a Microplane and then dump it in a bottle of premium vodka for two weeks, then strain out. Best Martini you’ve ever had, I garontee.

And you can make this killer Satsuma Cake too:

Flourless satsuma cake, made with Nigella Lawson’s recipe (Jason Perlow)

This uses whole satsumas, cooked for 2 hours in a pot of water, then
blitzed in the food processor with eggs, almonds and sugar and butter and baked in a springform pan.

26 Responses to It’s Satsuma Time Again!

  1. Liz says:

    Wow~your pictures of food are SO realistic! I want a Satsuma now! That flourless cake looks delicious paired with the ice cream.

  2. The video of peeling a satsuma orange with one hand was wonderful! Only you could see those possibilities as you clutched your camera in the other hand! Bravo!

  3. Belle Chase Transplant via Katrina says:

    Being form the area where Becknel sold satsumas on La 23 South, I was excited when I saw satsumas at the local grocery chain here in Ga. Now these came from El Paso, but my thought was “a satsuma is a satsuma” so I got a box.

    I was so disappointed…. A rose may be a rose, but a satsuma from south louisiana beats the heck out of those things they grow elsewhere. You don’t want picante sauce made by some guy in New Your City and you don’t want a satsuma from anywhere but south Louisiana.

  4. Scott says:

    My family and I just came back froma trip to Galveston Island. We decided to take Hwy 90 from I-310 to Lafayette, because the interstate was closed there due to a gas well explosion. Our detour yielded some excellent “Lagniappe.”

    My wife is a HUGE fan of Satsumas and we were able to stop just outside of Jeanerette, Louisiana at a family satsuma farm (over 800 trees!) They allow you to pick-your-own satsumas!! The family gives you a wagon, pruning shears and 5-gallon buckets and you can pick straight from the tree for only $10 per bucket. You can get about 27lbs in a bucket, too! They even tell you to eat as much as you can straight from the tree while you are out there.

    For Satsuma fans like my wife, there is nothing better than eating a tree-ripened satsuma straight from the tree!! If you ever get a chance, they said that their season was late this year due to the warm weather, but they are usually actively selling and picking in late October. Well worth a trip down old Hwy 90!

  5. Steve says:

    How long is satsuma season in Southern LA? Is it too late to order some?

  6. cherie rose says:

    Is this the farm that has hayrides for kids and you can pick up as many satsuma that a person can handle in the month of January? If so, I have a Brownie Girl Scout troop that may be interested in doing this. Let me know… I did something like this years ago in a toddler group with my kids. Cherierose@cox.net

  7. Barbara Garver says:

    I woudld like information about price, shipping and handling, and availability of satsumas. Thank you for your time.

  8. LC says:

    I am just back from my first trip to New Orleans and my friends introduced me to satsumas. Wow! Why bother with tangerines or tangelos ever again? I want Louisiana Satsumas in our groceries now! I watched our friends’ two-year-old peel one with just a little help getting it started. No seeds. All the flavor!

  9. steve says:

    I have 2 satsuma trees here in south ga that are 6 yrs old. The trees are growing great, they’re both at least 7 ft tall, but I have no blooms or fruit, what’s my problem. I bought both tree’s in north fla, and I’m pretty sure they had fruit on them when I bought them. I’m only 10 miles north of the fla line—would appreciate your help, Steve Gordon, Boston Ga.

  10. Henry Hayes says:

    Question: I planted a satsuma tree last fall that is today only about 24″ inches tall with very small limbs, and there are so many satsumas on it today that all of the branches are curving toward the ground, even though I have the tree supported by a “tomato wire cage.” Will the heavy fruit break the branches and should I pick the friut to allow the plant to grow larger and stronger before producing fruit? Or can I leave the fruit on and harvest it this October?

    I would greatly appreciate a reply. Thanks.

    Henry Hayes

  11. rumdoxy says:

    Bless your delicious little heart for giving our satsumas some of the attention they so heartily deserve. Season is just starting this year, and the fruits are getting sweeter by the week. I had ordered LA satsumas when I used to live in Seattle, to the eye-rolling delight of my group of gastronomes. However! As you would expect, there is absolutely NO comparison to eating them hours off the tree. None. Period. End of story.

    That said, for those of you who want real Louisiana satsumas (and you DO want them, whether or not you’re aware), COME TO LOUISIANA TO GET THEM. Eat them here, by the tree on which they’re grown. Meet the people who, year after year, break backs and hearts, fighting hurricanes and the ACE, to help these beautiful trees produce fruit of otherworldly flavor and sweetness.
    Seriously.
    In the same way that sex is immeasurably better with someone you know and love,
    so eating is better (and often better than sex!) when you know and love the food.
    Every part of it.
    Soil to farmer to tree to fruit.

    …Oh, and to the guy whose trees aren’t flowering? Check the sexes of the trees. You might’ve gotten a same-sex couple, as opposed to an opposite-sex pair. Most citrus trees need fertilization, and they’ve gotta have a compatible partner close by to do that. Good luck growin yer own, darlin!

    -rum doxy-
    new orleans

  12. mary says:

    When does the fruit rippen? They have been on my trees for months getting bigger but still green

  13. ld Jones says:

    I have one full tree in NW fla. They are so delicious. What is the best way to ship up North? Last year about 1/3 of the ones I shipped were not good when they got to their destination.

  14. ld Jones says:

    to Henry Hayes My tree is about 20-25 feet. I have lived here about 5 years, and every year except last year limbs were dragging the ground by September. I had boards under some of the branches this year, but they break. the limbs seem to be OK once it is picked. None break, and none broke during the hurricanes. We lost big trees. Any one do anything different to keep limbs up?

  15. Barry Marsh says:

    This is an update to Scott’s trip that we took on 30 November 2009. On a return trip from Arlington, TX to Huntsville, AL my wife an I took a detour south from Shreveport on I 49 to find the farm Scott had described. My wife is from Okinawa Japan and we became big fans of Satsumas while stationed in Japan. We continued past I 10 headed south on I 49 and kept driving on 90E and eventually (around 40 miles) we spotted 2 signs on the right side of the roadway. The first was SATSUMAS and the second was SATSUMAS 2 miles with an arrow pointing to the right. They had a small bag for $6, a large bag for $10, or you could pick your own for $.50 a pound or $10 a bucket. We picked 5 buckets in less than an hour. We would have picked more, but it was raining. The farm Scott visited is the Terry Citrus Farm. Everything is as Scott described, but thought it would be useful for travelers to have the specific address for their GPS and telephone numbers to verify that Satsumas are available. I described the trip an an adventure to my wife and was glad we found the farm as it added 7 hours to our trip.

    Terry Citrus Farm, 436 Hwy 318, Franklin, LA 70538 (337)923-6215, Cell Numbers (337) 578-4086 and 967-2011

    My wife and I are big fans of U Pick farms and was surprised to find so little information on the Web for Satsumas. Since we live in Alabama I was wondering if someone knows of a U Pick for Satsumas in Alabama?

  16. […] the highways of southern Louisiana and Mississippi, vendors are setting up stands selling local satsumas and oranges. I noticed them when D, E, and I were driving back from New Orleans at Thanksgiving, […]

  17. Jimmy Juicer says:

    My dad’s satsuma tree just started producing fruit this winter. I have way more satsuma’s than I know what to do with. I’ll have to give this satsuma vodka a shot. Seems like a decent use for the fruit.

    Female Dating Help | Magic the Gathering Card Reviews

  18. […] It’s Satsuma Time Again! « Off The BroilerI have 2 satsuma trees here in south ga that are 6 yrs old. The trees are growing great, they’re both at least 7 ft tall, but I have no blooms or fruit, what’s my problem. I bought both tree’s in north fla, and I’m pretty sure they had fruit on them when I bought them. […]

  19. Jane Hebert says:

    We have two satsuma trees, and for several years they both produced fruit in abundance. My husband fertilizes them each year. Last year only one of them produced a lot of fruit, with the other one only about 30 oranges. Now this year the other tree has an abundance of blooms on it, and the one that produced last year has very few blooms. What causes this? They are planted next to each other and we live in Beaumont, Texas. Any answers?

  20. Walter M says:

    I live in the northeast USA. Last year I bought satsuma and my family liked them. Because of the nuclear accident at Fukushima, I now wonder where the satsuma sold in the USA come from. Where do they come from?

  21. Walter M says:

    I understand that satsuma harvesting starts in about October.

  22. Gwen Ochoa says:

    April Im in Vidor. Satsumas produce light one year and haeavy the next .

  23. Happy Thanksgiving; Where can I order a case of satsuma’s?

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