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Oranges vs Clementines: What's the difference and how much do they cost?

Dr. Penny Pincher founded the popular personal finance blog Penny Pincher Journal in 2013 and has published two books about saving money.

Oranges for sale

Oranges for sale

Oranges are good for you-they are sweet and high in vitamin C. Sailors took them on long voyages to avoid getting scurvy. I take them for lunch to avoid getting hungry.

But are they a good buy? Clementines- also called Cuties- are easier to peel and have less of that white stuff (called pith) coating them inside the peel. Do they cost more than oranges? Where do tangerines fit in?

Orange vs Clementine

We’ll choose the clementine to go up against the orange in today’s match. Clementines and tangerines are similar- both being smaller and easier to peel than oranges. Clementines are also called “seedless tangerines”. So we’ll pick the clementine to compare with an orange.

Orange (left) vs Clementine (right)

Orange (left) vs Clementine (right)

As you can see, the orange is about twice the size of the clementine. Oranges vary somewhat in size, and clementines can vary a lot in size. I have seen some very small clementines. But generally speaking, clementines are less than half the size of an orange.

Peeled clementine (also called a Cutie)

Peeled clementine (also called a Cutie)

If you have never tried a clementine, you'll be surprised how easy they are to peel. I usually use a knife to get started peeling an orange- this isn't necessary with a clementine. The peel is thinner. Also, there is less of that white fibrous stuff (called pith) on the inside of the peel on a clementine.

Peeled orange

Peeled orange

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The orange has a much thicker peel and more pith is left around the orange after it is peeled. I find that the skin around each section is much thicker and tougher on oranges than on clementines.

The Verdict: Clementines Win

Clementines are sweeter, easier to peel, and easier to eat. But how much do they cost compared with oranges?

Table of cost of Oranges, Clementines, and Tangerines. Source: Dr. Penny Pincher

ItemCostCost per Pound

1 Orange



Oranges, 4 pound bag



Clementines, 5 pound package



Tangerines, 5 pound package



Penny Pinching Tips:

  • Clementines don't cost much more than oranges, especially when you consider that oranges have more peel and pith
  • Clementines are easier to peel and taste better than oranges
  • If paying a little more for clementines will keep you away from junk food, it's well worth 40 cents per pound

Recommended reading:

7 Foods: Which foods would you choose if you could eat only seven foods

© 2013 Dr Penny Pincher


Dr Penny Pincher (author) from Iowa, USA on August 30, 2013:

Jasmin- clementines never get wasted at my house! Keep a few in your backpack for snacks while on campus.

Jasmin on August 30, 2013:

This was a great, short and simple article. As a college student trying to eat healthy, but having VERY little dispensable income, it helped me settle a debate that was going through my mind (I'm going with the clementines, btw). Thanks!

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