And Thus Was Scurvy Vanquished At the Scalzi Compound

Fresh from Louisiana, a gift of satsumas, a tangerine-like fruit, from a very kind Whatever reader who thought I and the family might enjoy them. And so we are. The fellow who sent them may announce himself if he wishes (I tend not to name names unless given explicit permission), but suffice to say his generosity made our day here both sweet and tart. Thank you, kind sir.

44 thoughts on “And Thus Was Scurvy Vanquished At the Scalzi Compound

  1. They look like clementines. Do they look the same inside? Are they tarter?

    What a nice gift. It’s good to have friends.

  2. Whew, that’s a relief. I was quite worried about having to tell people that scurvy Scalzi said something, and break out into a horrible lithp.

  3. What I really like is that someone sent you a fruit described by WikiP as a mutant. Seems appropriate somehow.

  4. I find it quite bizarre and hilarious that satsumas have to be explained! (And also a kind and thoughtful gift unlikey to go to waste.)

  5. Just wondering if you would be equally pleased Christmas durians? I do so enjoy your writing and people generally have at least a few comments after their first encounter with the durian.

  6. I am waiting on honeybell tangelos, but those aren’t until January.

    I don’t think I’ve ever had a satsuma. My citrus experience is apparently lacking.

  7. I had no idea you affection was so easily bought. I have a case of Coke Zero and some Red Vines here. I also the contact info for a Nigerian Prince with a great business offer.

  8. John @ 10: Durians are available in the US, usually at the asian market, though I’ve only ever seen them frozen. I suppose I should be thankful for that.

  9. He also likes hairballs, but only when you hide them places. Floating in a half full can of Coke Zero is his favorite spot. I know because he gets really excited when he finds ‘em!

  10. Satsumas are my very favorite. We just planted a tree and I’m hoping we have some as soon as next year!

  11. I thought a satsuma was a sort of MEAT!!! I thank you Scalzi, and anonymous Whatever reader, for once again increasing my knowledge/vocabulary level.

  12. I think I’ve seen durians down at Jungle Jim’s (The source, btw, of that bacon boullion) a few times. I’ve yet, unfortunately, to see a mangosteen outside of my computer or Sims2.

    Which is a pity, as I would gladly try the latter, while the former must go to my Partner In Crime – who has no sense of smell and therefore enjoys all things pungently stinky.

  13. Xopher: Clementines and satsumas (and tangerines, for that matter) are all flavor variants of mandarins, much as Fujis and Jonagolds are flavor variants of apples (though those have a much wider range.) The Wikipedia entry has some more cultivars listed, though not a whole lot of other information.

    I love mandarins. I love mandarins lots. And since I buy from growers and farmers’ markets, I tend to get satsumas more than clementines.

    Apparently, the USDA recently certified that mandarins grown in Placer County, California, have up to six times the synephrine of mandarins grown elsewhere. Synephrine acts like pseudephrine (Sudafed) in the body, which means that Placer County mandarins potentially have cold-fighting effects.

    I shall be very upset if they restrict sales based on the possibility of mandarin meth. :D

  14. Ahhhh…lovely Mikan! The Satsuma/Mandarin/Mikan is a wonderful fruit…a local specialty (I live in Yamaguchi prefecture, Japan, where they grow all over the place). Enjoy!

  15. An orange was one of the perennial Xmas stocking-stuffers of my youth. Took it for granted back then of course, but these days I recognize what a wonderful thing it is to be able to eat fresh citrus. Ambrosia, indeed.

    FYI, if you look in the right Asian market, you will find Durian ice-cream bars. Pretty tasty, actually.

  16. John @ 10: I had my first taste of durian and mangosteen years ago in Singapore. The durian isn’t something I’d seek out again, but the mangosteen was yummy. I recently found an asian market nearby that carries them at certain times of year and they were as tasty as I remembered – kind of difficult to peel though. I’ve also found freeze-dried mangosteen at Trader Joes – not as good as fresh, but interesting.

  17. redkitty @ 24: there’s something very wrong with ‘durian’ and ‘ice-cream’ being in the same sentence.

  18. It’s 8:00 a.m. By now the toxins have laced themselves throughout the Scalzi nervous systems, and the family will rise as zombies with the nightfall!

    Mwaa ha ha ha ha ha ha

  19. …satsumas aren’t available everywhere?!

    *moment of silence for the deprived*

    Also, I take affront to the orange comparison. A proper satsuma has a peel that slips off in seconds, hardly any pith, and such low acidity you can eat it painlessly with winter-chapped lips.

    On that note, I’m going to go raid our fruit stash.

  20. John
    I am so happy that you and your family recived my gift. I’m also glad that yall are enjoying them. The satsumas in my back yard are not as good as Johnny Becnel’s this year for some reason.

  21. Eric@25: My 2 year old daughter often refuses all fruit other than mangosteen, and the people who run the local Thai restaurant keep us supplied (seeing as it’s all their fault she got addicted to them :).

    Anyhow, don’t peel them: take a firm grip with both hands and twist, you should find that the inedible bit comes apart quite easily leaving the edible core accessible. (The restaurant owners who told us this were quite amused when they found we’d been peeling them with a knife for the last 9 months).

  22. John @ #10 – Sure durians are available in the US. They’re all over Chinatown in NY. But I warn you, you probably won’t like them. Most westerners don’t.

    As for mangosteen, you can get it canned in syrup in most Thai groceries. Much better than the dried stuff. Sometimes you can get it fresh in a sufficiently large Chinatown, like NY, SF or LA.

    Of course, the best (if you like them) durian you’ll ever have eat is only to be found in Southeast Asia. They don’t ship the good stuff to the US, I’m told.

  23. I planted a satsuma tree when I moved into my house 7 1/2 years ago. It was but a twig back then. Today it is taller than the house (one story) and the trunk is about 8″ thick in diameter. It’s has really nice thick green leaves and little white flowers before it begins to grow fruit.

    Well, it started producing fruit about the third year and they were very tart and there were what seemed to be about 50 seeds in each section, I’m not kidding much, lol.

    Last year there must have been a thousand satsumas on that tree, I swear, but still not as good as the ones I remember eating while growing up in Mobile, Al (there is a small town just outside of Mobile named Satsuma, which is where most of the commercial ones come from in the U.S, I think).

    This year there are not as many satsumas (I picked about 60 of them this past Saturday and there are tons more fixin’ to be ripe and ready to pick) but they are practically seedless and they are much, much sweeter. I can’t wait to get the juicer out and a bottle of champagne :).

    I don’t know why there have been such huge differences in the amount of fruit and their tartness/sweetness and number of seeds from year to year. The only difference this year was the formidable drought we had here in south Texas this past summer. Last year we had alot of rain.

    Who knows (shrug)?

  24. “So are you familiar with Kumquats?
    I’ve got a tree full – what’s it worth to ya”

    I planted a kumquat tree, too. But nary a quat to be seen :(. The lemon tree I planted came with one lemon attached. It looked like Charlie Brown’s christmas tree, lol. Well, it died within the year I planted it, sadly.

  25. Farley— it might be the soil varies from year to year, but the very tart first year sounds like a startup year to me. Most fruit trees don’t do too well their first year producing for various reasons; the seeds were almost certainly part of that.

  26. Farley:
    I don’t know how you are caring for your trees, but fruit-tree management runs on a scale from “Nuke’em’all and we’ll eat whatever the birds don’t, unless it turns out to be a nuisance” to very careful planning and measuring stuff with yard-sticks, which is much MUCH more likely to deliver high quality and high quantity of fruit. (I, personally, don’t know anything about citrus management…)

  27. Scott, you and me both, man. I just planted it and it did the rest on its own. I am definitely no horticulturalist (is that the right word?). Oh, the first year I did notice the leaves turning yellow, so I put some kind of compound made for ornamental/fruit trees to stop that, it worked and it didn’t happened again. I will be pruning it a lot more this year because I do want the bottom branches further from the ground than they are. The bird are more than welcome to the fruit at the top, I can’t reach them lol.

    B. Durbin, you are probably right on the soil, what with the rain variation and all, the nutrients in the soil are sure to vary as well.

    I just hope last night’s freeze didn’t hurt the fruit on there now. I haven’t had a chance to check yet.

  28. Farley @38: Think of it as reproductive strategy in action.

    AAUI*, young trees are at risk from several factors – competition from mature plants, uncertain soil, animals which uproot / step on them or graze them to the ground – so devote their energies to seed production, leaving fewer calories for making tasty fruit. This promotes short-range rapid turnaround reproduction: critter chomps on fruit, goes zomg SOUR!!!11!!, spits seeds and fruit everywhere ⇒ many potential new saplings, everyone happy (except the critter).
    Established fruit trees, on the other branch, don’t want lots of new growth grabbing their sun and water. (“You pesky upshoots, stay offa my orchard!”) Optimal reproduction calls for seeds to be carried a distance away, which is more likely to happen if the fruit is eaten, i.e. sweet.
    Seasonal rains or their absence also correlate with seed production. In dry years the chances of a given seed germinating and taking root are far poorer, so trees hoard their moisture and produce fewer and smaller seeds.

    * Disclaimer: IANA hortimaculturalist, either. ;^)

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