KINOW MANDARIN OR KINO - INFORMATION: HEALTH BENEFITS AND USES OF KINOW MANDARIN
Kinow or kino mandarins (pronounced keen-oo) are a relative newcomer to the citrus fruit family, although the parent plants from which they come have a very long history. In the 15th century in the Indian subcontinent, citrus trees were only grown in the Mughul emperors’ gardens or in those of the ruling élite as in those times they were considered luxury crops. The King Orange or Shahi sangtara grew in the emperors’ gardens and along with the “willow leaf” orange, was a parent of the kinow. The name comes from king and willow. The first kinows were produced in 1951 by H.B. Frost, a citrus breeder, at the Citrus Research center at the University of California. By 1958 kinow mandarins were being grown in Pakistan and are now largely grown in the Sarghoda and Bhalawal districts in Pakistan’s Punjab province.
Kinow have loose skins which are easily peeled, and the peel is used in various sweet dishes. It contains essential oil which is used in the perfume industry and in skin care preparations.
Kinow mandarins contain beta-carotene which has powerful antioxidant properties and helps the skin resist damage caused by the sun. It also contains limonene which is believed to be a potent anti-cancer agent which also has the ability to lower cholesterol levels. Apart from these constituents it also has vitamin A and a high vitamin C content as well as the minerals iron, calcium and phosphorous. They have a high juice content and this is good with carrot juice-the combination provides us with a lot of vitamin A which is beneficial for the eyesight as it can help prevent macular degeneration. Just one kinow provides more than the recommended daily amount of vitamin C so it is a powerful little fruit, and a very tasty one. We have been eating them since November and they will be with us until (hopefully) the end of May.
Pakistan is one of the biggest producers of the world’s supplies of kinow although it has been threatened recently with a greening disease. Citrus fruits have been grown in the subcontinent and other parts of Asia since around 4,000 BC, and they spread to Europe via North Africa and the Arab traders. The kinow has the same roots as the lemon although it is a new fruit. Soon a seedless variety will hit the supermarket shelves in Europe and the Middle East, having been developed by researchers in Pakistan.