Let’s face it. Locally grown fruit is one of the harder things to find in Houston’s farmer’s markets. I check the harvest calendar periodically to see what I should be looking for, and November lists fruits like apples, pears, persimmons, figs, and melons. That’s wonderful, but where are they? Melons I still see at the markets, but apples? No.
The problem with Texas harvest calendars is that Texas is a huge state, and we just don’t see the pears and apples in our markets as frequently as other parts of the state. Persimmons might be found in some Houston markets, although I still haven’t seen any yet. Citrus fruits are sometimes available this month. And, behold! Today, at the Sugar Land Farmer’s Market, I found these beauties, grown by the Secret Garden farm:
Satsumas. Satsumas are a type of mandarin orange. They are sweet, seedless, and super easy to peel. Known to be one of the sweetest of the mandarins, they almost melt in your mouth. Typically they are sold with the stems attached. These were not, so I was hoping that I wasn’t buying some less desirables ones. It turned out these were sweet and just right.
Satsumas grown on the Louisiana and Texas coast seem to be different from ones grown in California. Here, the skins are literally falling off the fruit. If you read up on Satsumas, it is suggested to choose “tight skins.” Not possible with these. Just use the obvious tests when selecting – no dark spots, pick the heaviest ones. They will be greenish this early in the season. That is expected.
I would never need a recipe using a satsuma. Fruit like this just doesn’t make it past the eat-out-of-hand stage for me. Yet, I was curious. So I googled. I found this one mentioned for clementines over and over, so I thought I’d link it here, especially as it is a flourless cake as well. Why not use Satsumas instead? I think my curiosity may get the best of me here. I can imagine this might make a refreshing Christmas cake.