Sunday, August 14, 2016

Trader Joe's Mandarins

A friend emailed me a while back, encouraging me to try Trader Joe's mandarins in a bag: "One of the best things they sell.... I haven't had a dry, disappointing one yet -- unlike the little oranges you get at, say, Cub."

So I bought a bag.

It's true that none were inedible, but my sample of one bag wasn't the joy I had hoped it would be. There was quite a bit of variation in the degree of sweetness and juiciness. A few were really good, most just kind of average, none much below average. All were easy to peel, which is in itself a minor miracle. I found only two seeds in the whole bagful--both, by odd coincidence, in the very last piece of fruit.

Will I buy it again? 

No. Not so much because they were bad, but because a whole bag really pushes the limit of how many time I'll want to snack on the same kind of fruit in the amount of time I have before they go bad.

But there's a quality issue in addition to the quantity issue: TJ's "stems and leaves" California mandarins were of higher average quality and more consistent, and have the added advantage (for me) of coming in smaller numbers. Of course, these differences may just be artifacts of having had such a small sample of each, so perhaps more experience would change my perspective.


  1. Glad you tried them. Sorry they disappointed.

    I take two or three every day to work for lunch, when I buy them. They never go bad too early.

  2. These are seasonal, so they're much more sweet in season during the winter. For just one person the bag is a lot but they keep more than a week in the fridge if they are very ripe

  3. So we've been buying these on and off since the winter and compared to other packs of mandarins they're the most consistently good ones for the price. The weird thing is that at my TJ's they come and go quite often. You see them one week, gone for a month, back for a month, gone again, back again, and we were even once told they were done for the season but surprise they came back a few weeks later. These summer ones also have not been as good as the ones were in the winter!