Clementines in Winter

'Tis the season for colds and flu. Last week Jacob had a cold and sore throat, and now this week is my turn to be under the weather.

Fortunately, 'tis also the season for clementines. Markets and street vendors' carts are overflowing with this juicy fruit that's filled with vitamin C. Unlike tangerines, clementines are seedless and sweeter. Here in Beijing, they are only about 3 to 4 yuan a kilo. Is it not a coincidence that clementine/tangerine season in the north is November to January, when we need vitamin C the most?

Over the past two weeks we have bought between 20 and 30 kilos (yes, kilos.) Jacob ate 2 to 3 kilos a day when he was sick, and combined with the potent throat-soothing affects of ice cream, got better within a few days. Now I'm trying out the same cure. The problem, though, is some of the clementines are still more tart than I'd like. Tartness tends to sting sore throats.

While staying home sick today, I caught a cooking show on BTV that said that best way to tell a sweet clementine from a sour one is to look at the top. Flat clementines tend to be sweeter, and pointier ones tend to be more sour. Next time I'm at the market for another few kilos, I'll apply this bit of Chinese TV wisdom to find a sweeter path to recovery.