You're so excited to peel open a beautiful and juicy little clementine, but have been left with nothing but a dried out bland-tasting fruit. Clementines are one of the best parts of winter, but it seems like for every batch of them, there are a couple that straight up suck. Some may be sour, some may be sweet. Some peel easier than others. Some are ripe and some are far from ripe. So here are some key tips to better your chances of picking the ripe ones.
What should your little cutie feel like? It should be firm, but not too firm. There should be an oily aspect to the peel. If you rub your fingers across the skin, you should be left with a waxy and slightly oily feel. The skin should feel loose—not like it is all dried out, but like there is a space between the fruit inside and the peel. If the skin is too tight, not only does it mean it is going to be super sour, but you are going to be scrapping it off with your finger nails.
It should smell the way you want it to taste. If there is no smell coming from the clementine, set it back down. It should smell fresh, bright, and citrusy. If you can hold it an arm's length away and still get a good whiff, it's ripe.
Juice=liquid=weight. Simple clementine physics here. If the fruit is dried up, there is no juice, which means that the fruit will seem light in weight. If the fruit is heavier, that means it is juicy and ready to eat.
Never buy a green clementine. The color says it all. If it is a vibrant orange and has little to no blemish and looks all cute... there is a pretty good chance it is ready to be eaten.
Obviously, no one really has time to inspect each individual clementine and go through the checklist. Chances are you just grab the batch and toss it in your cart anyway.