Nothing smells like Christmas to me quite like clementines. They show up in the grocery store in early November, right along side the first of the Christmas packaging and displays, so they are inextricably linked in my mind. Clementines are delicious, small, sweet little oranges that somehow manage to perfume a whole room when you start peeling one. I can’t eat just one at a time, I have to have at least two or three at a go.
They are easy to peel, and are supposed to be seedless. It’s so sharply disappointing when you come across a seed, mostly because you weren’t expecting one, but also because there is never only ONE seed. If you find one seed, you KNOW you will be spitting out about 30 more for the rest of the clementine.
They usually come in little wooden boxes, who knows why. It seems like an odd, primitive sort of packaging for this day and age; everything else comes in clamshell plastic or little net bags. The wooden boxes are flimsy little things with sharp edges and splinters, and the recycling guys toss them back on the lawn if you try to put them in the blue box. The only thing the wooden boxes are good for, in my experience, is for fashioning makeshift stables for free wheeling nativity scenes that need some grounding. Otherwise, they are quite useless.
But the clementines themselves are fabulous. Once, when the Mister and I were skiing in Colorado, we saw a display of clementines in the local grocery store that was so expensive, we nearly fainted with shock. Why, exactly, they went for double the price at home, we had no idea….was Morocco (where clementines come from) so much farther from Colorado than it was from southwestern Ontario? More likely, it had to do with discouraging people from buying flashy, foreign citrus fruit, instead of regular, unchallenging Florida oranges. But the Mister and I bought them anyway, dispite the dent in our holiday budget, because clementines are SO good, and also, you could fit two or three into the pockets of your ski jacket without tearing the lining.
I buy a box every week or so, and they usually don’t last until the next shopping day. I think they are the only fruit that is pretty much “acceptable” by my family for the entirety of their stay here…there are no issues with “spots” (bananas), “going soft” (almost any kind of berry) or "too much work" (a complaint frequently leveled at mangos). Clementines are eternally acceptable.
And they really do smell like Christmas. Really.