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In my experience, clementines have been significantly easier to peel by hand than and orange. The skin of the orange seems to cling to the rest of the orange much more so than the skin of the clementine does.

What causes this? Wikipedia (Clementine) merely mentions that they are easy to peel, but leaves it there. What is different between the way the skins are attached?

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I think it all comes down to the thickness of the skin and how it's attached to the fruit itself. For me, it depends on the variety of oranges and/or clementines, mandarins, etc. that I'm peeling. Usually fruits with thick, hard skin are easier to peel whereas fruits with softer more delicate skin are harder to peel off in one piece. Factors like growth climate and ripeness effect the skin quality.

If you roll the fruit on a hard surface under your palm before peeling, it makes the skin easier to peel off in one piece.

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  • $\begingroup$ I'm not as concerned with getting everything off in one piece, but I feel like I really have to put a lot of effort to get the skin of an orange to separate. Do you know more about how the different skins are attached? (And should I add that to the intent of my question?) $\endgroup$ – Brian J Apr 21 '15 at 20:20
  • $\begingroup$ @BrianJ the ultimate arbiter of the way the skin 'attaches' (really it 'forms') is the genes of the plant. Citrus fruit skins' all form by the same process of cell differentiation and growth, which are controlled by the genes of the plant, which are in tern controlled by other genes, hormones, environmental factors, etc. So, the oranges' genes may code to produce more fiber between the flesh and fruit, making the 'pull' easier or harder. $\endgroup$ – ebrohman Apr 21 '15 at 22:03

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