Before we know it, Cal­i­for­nia grown cit­rus fruits will have to make room for cher­ries, berries and stone fruits. For now, the plea­sure is in cit­rus.

Good news then that Cara Cara and blood oranges are not the only hand fruits we can indulge in for the next few weeks.

The Golden Nugget man­darin is an excep­tional, late sea­son vari­ety that is worth the recent atten­tion and new found pop­u­lar­ity.

Char­ac­ter­is­ti­cally, it is roughly rounded in shape and rather bumpy in exte­rior tex­ture. Its skin is golden orange, aro­matic and easy to peel. Its eas­ily seg­mented flesh is deep orange, ten­der, juicy, extremely sweet and always seedless.

Closely resem­bling the prized Pixie tan­ger­ine in many ways, the Gold Nugget is referred to as a “Pixie like” man­darin.

Ojai Pixie’s a have just started har­vest­ing and ship­ping as this arti­cle is writ­ten. It is lit­tle ear­lier than nor­mal sea­sons, but what has been nor­mal about this grow­ing sea­son? The wet mod­er­ate win­ter has helped them mature nicely and fruit is ready to go. The crop is large this year so there is ample prod­uct to pro­mote.

The Gold Nugget is botan­i­cally clas­si­fied as a cit­rus retic­u­late, or man­darin orange. This hybrid is a cross between the Wilk­ing and Kincy man­darins. Both are non-​commercial vari­eties.

Gold Nuggets are most com­monly eaten fresh, out of hand, peel removed and sep­a­rated into sec­tions.

Think of them when pack­ing a lunch, crav­ing a mid-​morning snack or look­ing to reward after­noon sports heroes.

Exper­i­ment with them as a top notch salad ingre­di­ent, salad dress­ing or mari­nade. They work well in baked, frozen or fresh dessert prepa­ra­tions. Freshly juiced, their star power ampli­fies cock­tails or smooth­ies.

Pair Gold Nugget man­darins with dried berries, shal­lots, olives, other cit­rus, seafood, avo­ca­dos and fen­nel.

Like most other cit­rus, room tem­per­a­ture is good for a hand­ful of days, but longer stor­age requires refrig­er­a­tion.

Sweet and suc­cu­lent man­darins rank high on the sat­is­fac­tion scale until win­ter days are past. This year, the sea­son seems to have lin­gered.

Enjoy Gold Nuggets for their bright, sparkling orange inte­rior fruit with excep­tion­ally sweet qual­i­ties. Avail­able mid-​March through June.