Making the Most of Georgia Satsumas

Daniel CooperGeorgia, Mandarins

Silverhill satsumas
Photo by Jake Price, University of Georgia Extension

“The satsuma mandarin industry in Georgia is currently experiencing tremendous growth and economic success, but it also faces many challenges.” That quote from the recent University of Georgia (UGA) Extension publication, Maximizing the Value of Georgia-Grown Satsumas Through Food Innovation, summarizes the state’s citrus industry that is composed primarily of satsuma mandarins.


The publication by Emma Moore, Laurel Dunn and Kevin Mis Solval of the UGA Department of Food Science & Technology says the potential for fruit production is expected to exceed demand in the fresh market. That may result in lower prices for premium fresh fruits. “Therefore, it will be essential for the industry to find alternatives to the fresh market to maintain success,” the publication suggests. More excerpts follow:


To overcome future challenges, the Georgia satsuma mandarin industry should consider adding value to underutilized fruits and maximizing profits from different fruit components. For example, satsuma peels contain high-value essential oils, pectin and dietary fiber that can be utilized in food, beverages and cosmetic products.

Essential oils are commonly used in a variety of consumer goods. Pectin and dietary fiber are utilized as gelling and thickening agents.

Extracts of satsuma peels contain natural antimicrobials, which can be used in several food and animal feed applications. An increased demand for such products is expected because of the growing concern over antibiotic-resistant bacteria and consumers’ increasing preference for natural food ingredients.

Satsuma mandarin peels are a good source of pectin, a soluble fiber that can be used as a gelling, stabilizing and thickening agent. The peels are rich in flavonoids and vitamin C with antioxidant properties. These compounds can be extracted from the peels and used as natural antioxidants to improve the nutritional quality of foods. The peels are rich in carotenoids, an orange-yellow pigment that can be used as a natural coloring agent in foods.


The UGA publication points out that in Georgia, the harvesting season of satsuma mandarins is in November. It notes that growers are looking to extend the citrus harvesting season by planting other citrus cultivars that ripen earlier. Those could include LA Early, Early St. Ann, Armstrong, Xie Shan, Miho, Miyagawa, Shiranui or Tango mandarins, as well as Cara Cara navels, grapefruit and lemons. This will allow growers to harvest citrus from October to January.

Source: University of Georgia Extension

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