Sweet and succulent mandarin oranges rank high among winter's favorite flavors. If only they weren't so seedy.
That thought occurred to Tim Williams, a citrus breeder at the University of California, Riverside, who produced four seedless mandarins. 'Gold Nugget' has delicious flavor beneath its ugly, bumpy skin. 'Shasta Gold', 'Yosemite Gold', and 'Tahoe Gold' not only have the great flavor of 'Gold Nugget', but beautiful skins as well. The plants are just now showing up in nurseries and garden centers. Of the four varieties, 'Yosemite Gold' has a slight edge in flavor, says one commercial citrus grower.
All make great garden-scale trees in Sunset climate zones 8, 9, and 12-24. Give this citrus full sun. The mandarins color by January and ripen mid-February through May.