The Humble Murcott

20 March 2012

A fruit that transcends mere citrus, the murcott — if you’ve not tried it — is a brilliant taste sensation.  A sweeter,  juicier, larger and slightly flattened, thin-skinned version of the standard tangerine is worth knowing.

Renamed honey tangerine — some marketing genius’ idea to maximize market penetration, no doubt, assessing murcott as far too homely a name for such a sassy succulent — it is citrus supremacy. The woman running the produce stand at the Eastern Market in DC would always tuck an extra orange or banana into my bag and, one day in January decades ago, a murcott. When asked what it was, she responded, “Sweet. Taste it. So sweet.” That perfectly describes the essence of the fruit that has never ceased to delight.

Murcotts supply the crisp winter months with a fresh supply of juicy, sweet vitamin c in citrus form. Originally available for only about two months of the year, both the season and the size of the fruit has expanded over the years. They can be as small as a tangerine or as large as a naval orange. Its short growing season fuels passion for it, tickling the instinct of anticipation, beginning as early as mid-December or as late as the end of February, and lasting up to four months. Even more than those end-of-year holidays, I yearn their arrival with the anticipation of a ten-year-old awaiting the first snow day from school.

For breakfast, with lunch, after dinner or a snack; have them multiple times a day while the season lasts. The thin rind is easy to peel, the nose has immediate engagement, signaling the flavor within, the juice remaining inside the membrane so none is wasted in the process. Biting down on a pulpy section sends forth an explosion of sweetness in the mouth that rivals any candy.  A murcott or two is the perfect dessert, ending any meal with refreshing satisfaction.

Murcotts are a mild palette cleanser after smoking a cigar, later in the day, or the morning after. The acidic acid cuts some of the aftertaste. A little foresight at night can pay great dividends in the morning: place a peeled murcott in a zip lock bag or plastic container, seal and put on the nightstand beside your bed and, upon awakening, savor the juicy, fruity sections. It won’t cut all of the aftertaste, but will make morning mouth much more tolerable.

How deep is my love for murcotts? Enough to eat them every day I can get them, never tiring of their sweet juiciness.  Enough to tell everyone, encouraging them to go out of their way, if necessary, to buy them. Connect With Your Instinct® for a fragrant, delicious surprise; don’t delay though, the season is almost over. The murcott, or honey tangerine, is a fruit truly worthy of love.


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