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Ajuntament de Tortosa - Bítem

Clementine of Bitem

Fira de la Clementina de Bítem

HISTORY

The clementine is the fruit of clementine tree (Citrus clementine), a hybrid between a mandarin (Citrus deliciosa) and orange (Citrus sinensis). As it is a sterile hybrid it has no pips. It also has a thin skin that is easy to peel and also a bittersweet taste.

The clementine is believed to originate from a natural hybrid cross at Misserghin, a village near Orà in Algeria, in the late nineteenth century. It was discovered by Father Climent (Vincent Rodier,1829-1904), who found a different tree growing in the mandarin plantation at the orphanage at Misserghin and gave this name to the sweet fruit. The first article on the clementine was published in France in a gardening magazine in 1902.

The climate and the soil of the Lower Ebro and Montsiá regions are ideal for growing citrus fruits. Winters are temperate and frost-free with minimum temperatures of 12 ºC that slow the ripening of the skin of the fruit. In these regions there are two types of soil. One is poor, shallow and stony. In these areas there is little production of clementines but they are of high quality. The other type of soil is rich in alluvial deposits thanks to its location near the river. It is an easy soil to work, being both light and porous.

The distinctive features of clementines from the Terres de l'Ebre are a bright orange skin and sweet flesh, a thin skin that is highly elastic but firm. They are a very well balanced fruit with good flavour, very juicy and have a unique sweetness.

The total area producing clementines in the two regions of the Lower Ebro and Montsiá is about 8,000 hectares and the total annual production is 160,000 tons. The varieties that have Protected Geographical Indication (PGI) Terres del Ebre are the fina, the hernandina and the clemenules.

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