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How to Tell if Mandarins Are Bad: Essential Tips

How to Tell if Mandarins Are Bad?

To tell if Mandarins are bad, there are several signs to look out for.

Firstly, if the mandarin has a funky or musty odor, it has gone bad.

Secondly, if the vibrant orange color of the mandarin changes to a blue-green color, it indicates mold and bacterial growth.

Additionally, small green or brownish spots on the peel indicate mold growth.

Spoiled mandarins will taste bitter or sour, losing their sweet and refreshing flavor.

If the mandarin becomes mushy and covered in slimy juices instead of clear, watery juices, it has started to spoil.

Oranges stored for too long may develop shriveled, thin, and fragile peels.

Proper storage is key in extending the lifespan of mandarins and enjoying them for longer.

Refrigerated mandarins can last up to 4 weeks, while frozen mandarins can remain fresh and retain flavor for up to 6 months.

It is important to store whole mandarins in the vegetable drawer of the fridge without peeling them, and to avoid washing them before storage as extra moisture leads to mold formation.

Using mesh bags for storage allows for proper airflow, while airtight Ziploc bags are suitable for storing orange slices to keep them fresh.

Finally, it is normal for mandarins to have a white substance inside called “pith”.

Quick Tips and Facts:

1. Did you know that the term “mandarins” is commonly used to refer to a type of citrus fruit called “Satsumas” in some parts of the world?

2. Contrary to popular belief, the color of a mandarin’s skin is not always an indicator of its freshness. The brightness of its color may vary due to different factors such as variety, growing conditions, and maturity.

3. One way to determine if a mandarin is bad is by feeling its texture. A good mandarin should be firm and slightly springy to the touch. If it feels too soft or mushy, it might be past its prime.

4. Mandarins that have started to spoil often emit a faint, fermented smell. While mandarins naturally have a fragrant aroma, any hint of a sour or unpleasant odor could be a sign that they are no longer fresh.

5. Another lesser-known method to check the freshness of mandarins is by gently pressing or rolling the fruit in your hand. If it feels unusually hollow, chances are it has started to dry out from the inside, indicating spoilage.


One of the easiest ways to determine if mandarins have gone bad is by their odor. If you catch a whiff of a funky or musty smell coming from the mandarin, it is a clear sign that it has started to spoil. A fresh mandarin should have a pleasant, citrusy aroma that is both sweet and refreshing. However, when the mandarin has gone bad, the smell becomes unpleasant and off-putting.

When detecting the odor, it is important to note that there might be a subtle difference between a mandarin that is slightly overripe and one that is completely spoiled. If the odor is mildly unpleasant but not overpowering, the mandarin may still be safe to consume, although it might not taste as good as a perfectly fresh one.

Color Change

The color of a mandarin is an important indication of its freshness. A ripe mandarin should have a vibrant orange hue. However, as mandarins begin to spoil, they may undergo a color change, turning from vibrant orange to a blue-green hue. This discoloration is a clear sign that mold and bacterial growth have started to occur on the fruit’s surface.

If you notice this color change, it is best to discard the mandarin immediately, as consuming moldy fruits can lead to health issues. Eating fruits that have developed mold can cause digestive problems, allergic reactions, or even fungal infections if the mold is toxic.

Mold Spots

Another visual cue that mandarins have gone bad is the presence of mold spots on the peel. Mold appears as small green or brownish spots that become more noticeable as the fruit spoils further. These spots are a result of mold growth on the peel, indicating that the fruit is no longer safe to consume.

While you can cut off the moldy section of a fruit and consume the rest, it is essential to remember that mold can penetrate deeper into the fruit than what is visible on the surface. Therefore, it is generally recommended to discard the entire fruit if mold spots are present.


The taste of a mandarin can be a good indicator of its freshness. A spoiled mandarin will have a bitter or sour taste, which is very different from the sweet and refreshing flavor of a perfectly ripe mandarin. Therefore, if you bite into a mandarin and it tastes off or unpleasant, it is a clear indication that it has started to spoil.

When it comes to determining the freshness of fruits, it’s always best to trust your taste buds. If something tastes strange or unpleasant, it’s better to be cautious and avoid consuming it any further.

  • The taste of a mandarin can reveal its freshness.
  • A spoiled mandarin will have a bitter or sour taste.
  • Trust your taste buds to determine freshness.
  • If something tastes strange, refrain from consuming it further.

“The taste of a mandarin can reveal its freshness.”

Slimy Skin

When mandarins start to spoil, their skin can become slimy instead of having clear, watery juices. This sliminess is a result of the breakdown of the fruit’s cells, leading to a change in texture and consistency.

When you notice that the mandarin’s skin has become mushy and covered in slimy juices, it is a clear sign that the fruit has started to spoil. At this point, it is best to discard the mandarin, as consuming it may lead to digestive discomfort or other health issues.

  • The skin becomes slimy and the juices become mushy when mandarins spoil.
  • Discard spoiled mandarins to avoid digestive discomfort and potential health issues.

“When mandarins start to spoil, their skin can become slimy instead of having clear, watery juices.”

Shriveling or Drying Out

Proper storage plays a crucial role in the longevity of mandarins. Oranges that are stored for too long may develop shriveled, thin, and fragile peels. This drying out of the peel is a clear indication that the mandarins have lost their freshness and are no longer ideal for consumption.

When mandarins start to shrivel or appear dried out, their texture and flavor may also be affected. The fruit may become mealy or less juicy, leading to a less desirable eating experience. Therefore, it is best to enjoy mandarins when they are still fresh and have not undergone any significant changes in texture or appearance.

Overall, following these essential tips on how to tell if mandarins are bad can help ensure that you enjoy the fruit at its peak freshness. By paying attention to the:

  • Odor
  • Color change
  • Mold spots
  • Taste
  • Slimy skin
  • Shrinkage of the peel

You can easily identify whether your mandarin is still good to eat or if it’s time to toss it out. Remember, proper storage and timely consumption are key to prolonging the lifespan of mandarins and experiencing their optimal flavor.

Frequently Asked Questions

How do you know if mandarin is good to eat?

To determine if a mandarin is good to eat, look at the point where it was plucked from the tree. A white and soft appearance is ideal, indicating freshness. However, if this area is turning brown, the fruit is likely drying out. Additionally, the presence of stems and leaves can also provide some insight into the fruit’s quality.

How can you tell if mandarin oranges are bad?

To determine if mandarin oranges are bad, you can rely on a few indicators. Firstly, inspect the texture of the oranges; if they feel soft and mushy, it is a sign that they have gone bad. Additionally, observe the rind for any shriveling or drying out, as well as the presence of brown discolorations and mold spots. A foul and stale odor emanating from the oranges is also an indication of spoilage. Lastly, if the mandarin oranges have lost their flavor and taste sour or bitter, it is best to discard them to avoid any potential health risks.

Is it OK to eat old mandarins?

Yes, it is generally safe to eat old mandarins as long as they do not show any signs of mold, rotting, or other discolorations. Although their flavor may have dulled over time, the mandarins can still be consumed without any major concerns. If you choose to store segmented mandarin pieces with the skin intact, placing them in an airtight container can help maintain their freshness for longer periods.

How long does it take for mandarins to go bad?

Mandarins can generally stay fresh for around 1-2 weeks if stored in a cool, dry location in a single layer. However, if you find yourself unable to finish them within this time frame (which is highly unlikely due to their irresistible taste), you can store them in the refrigerator to prolong their freshness for a few additional days.

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