Have you been wondering why canned tangerines look so clean? If you have ever made dessert with canned tangerines, you will realize how sweet they are. It is because most mandarins are preserved in syrup, which enables them to have a nice and sweet taste.
However, have you ever noticed how suspiciously “clean” these mandarins are? Fresh tangerine segments look totally different and are always covered with white threads and a fine skin. Research revealed how possible this could be, you may not want to eat canned tangerines after you know the truth. Indeed, new knowledge doesn’t always make us happy!
If you have ever peeled a mandarin, you will realize how difficult it is to remove the white threads. Even if you attack the mandarin with your fingernails, it is hard to get rid of them all, and sometimes the mandarin turns into a pitiful pile of pulp. How is it possible that the canned mandarins are stripped of their white threads and skins?
Most canned tangerines usually come from China where there are several factories full of people who work to ensure that we can eat canned mandarins. Women have to peel countless mandarins there, and have about ten seconds per mandarin. This implies that they peel six per minute, which equalize to 360 mandarins per person, per hour! Then the peeled mandarins go on a conveyor belt to their next destination: a nice bath.
The bath in which mandarins experience consists of the chemical, caustic soda. This is the same caustic substance that is mostly used to unblock drains. It breaks down organic matter, which can unclog a sink, and it dissolves the food residue in drain pipes. Some criminals usually make use of this chemical to get rid of body parts. For that reason, you shouldn’t get caustic soda on your hands, because it can damage the skin. The mandarins are kept in caustic soda long enough to remove the skins and threads, but not long enough to attack the flesh.
For you to make mandarins edible after the caustic soda bath, they are given a second bath in hydrochloric acid. This eliminates the caustic soda, since together the two chemical liquids are equivalent to water. After this the mandarins are canned with syrup, and now ready to start their journey to the supermarket.
In this video, you will learn how to do this yourself with tangerines:
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