Gold Nugget Mandarin Vs Satsuma: What Are The Differences?

Satsuma and gold nugget mandarins are well popular among people for their rich taste. Both are used in varieties of recipes. But they also have some significant differences that make them distinct from each other.

So you might wonder, what are the differences between gold nugget mandarin vs satsuma?

Gold nugget mandarins are 5-8 cm in diameter whereas satsuma mandarins are 6-10 cm. Gold nuggets are a hybrid of Wilking and Kincy but satsuma mandarins are not a hybrid. Gold nugget mandarins are available from late winter to throughout the summer while satsumas are available throughout the winter.

That was only a portion of our total discussion. To learn more about these two varieties, join us in the full discussion.

Let’s begin!

Gold Nugget Mandarin Vs Satsuma: Quick Comparison 

The few differences between satsuma and gold nugget mandarines are provided below. 

Aspect  Gold Nugget Mandarin  Satsuma Mandarin
Origin  California, USA Japan
Hybrid  Yes  No 
Mature Tree Height  8 ft 10-15 ft
Mature Tree Width  8-12 ft 5-10 ft
Favorable Weather For Growth Warm weather  Hot & Humid
Fruit Size Avg height 3”,

Diameter 5-8 cm

Avg height 2-3”, 

Diameter 6-10 cm

Availability  February to April November to February
Required sunlight for harvesting  Fulltime  Minimum 10-hour
Taste Sweet  Sweet and slightly acidic
Seed Count  Seedless Seedless
Fruit Skin  Bumpy Smoother 
Application  Smoothies, fruit punches Goes well with spicy flavors 
Storage  Can be stored up to 2 weeks Same

Let’s talk more in details about them.

Gold Nugget Mandarin Vs Satsuma: Detailed Comparison 

Although both are mandarin varieties, they have quite a few differences. It’s just like ravens and zz supernova. The details are given in the following sections.


Gold nugget mandarins are a hybrid that originated in the USA whereas Satsumas originated in Japan. The gold nugget mandarins were first produced in 1950 at Riverside, the University of California.

It is a hybrid between two non-commercial mandarin varieties called Wilking and Kincy. These two types are also hybrid from the tangors and mandarins. 

The commercial cultivation for gold nugget mandarins was started in 1975. Now it’s available all over the world. Satsuma mandarins originated in Japan. 

Unlike the gold nuggets, satsuma mandarins are not a hybrid. The Japanese name for them is Unshu. It was first discovered in the 14th century.

The name satsuma was given after it was introduced in the United States in 1880. Japan is still the leading cultivator of satsuma mandarins to this date.

Tree Attributes:

Satsuma mandarin trees grow taller than gold nugget mandarins but they measure less in width. Gold nugget trees are wider and bushier than satsuma mandarin trees.

Gold nugget mandarin plants are small in size and can be cultivated in containers. They require full sunlight, plenty of water, and proper soil drainage. 

They grow about 8 ft tall and the width ranges from 8-12 ft. they grow well in cold regions. The tree reproduces through the pollination process as it holds both male and female organs.

But it also can be grown through seeds. Gold nugget mandarins are usually seedless. So, it’s hard to preserve seeds for growing new plants.

The same is true for satsuma mandarins. Therefore, pollination is a more favorable choice. Satsuma mandarin trees grow about 10-15 ft in height and 5-10 ft in width. 

They have prostate growth characteristics and require a minimum of 10 hours of sunlight. Although they survive cold weather, hot and humid weather is more favorable for harvesting.

That’s why it’s recommended to move the plants indoors during cold winter. Keeping the indoor plants warm is rather easy. 


Satsuma mandarin leaves are rounder in shape than gold nugget mandarins. Mandarin trees usually have spiny, long, and lean branches.

Depending on the origin type, they can grow upright or drooping. The leaves are lanceolate, or toothed, with slightly winged leaf bases.

The leaves of the satsuma mandarin are almost identical except it’s even rounder. It has a pointed tip at the apex and the base of the leaf. 

The main and the primary lateral vein are visible from both above and below. The petiole is long and slender, with narrow wings. 

The leaves have a glossy and leathery texture. Satsuma trees are said to be evergreen as the leaves are always dark green in color.


Gold nugget mandarins have a rough appearance whereas satsuma has a rather smooth appearance. Gold nugget mandarins stand out more than other mandarin varieties.

Source: Minnetonka Orchards

It’s because the surface of it isn’t smooth or perfectly round like other varieties. Gold nugget mandarins aren’t the most aesthetically pleasing variety but satsuma might be. 

They don’t have perfectly smooth skin either. But the skin isn’t bumpy, unlike the gold nugget mandarin. But judging it by its appearance would be a total mistake. 

Gold nugget mandarins are rich in flavor, juicy, and very sweet in taste when it’s ripe. They’re seedless and easy to peel as well.

Gold nugget mandarins grow considerably larger than other “mandarin” varieties. The regular height is about three inches. The average diameter is about 5 to 8 centimeters.

Satsuma mandarins grow about 2-3 centimeters tall and 6-10 centimeters wide. Their figure is like flattened spheres. Satsuma mandarins sometimes grow a slight “neck”.

It’s similar to how crimson sweet and sugar baby watermelon differs in characteristics. The skin of satsuma mandarin is thin and loose so peeling them is easier.

satsuma mandarin
Source: HG TV

Its flavor is quite intense and a little bit acidic. But it’s still the sweetest among the “citrus” variety. They are quite juicy and seedless as well.

Satsuma mandarins are quite frugal and need to be handled carefully. A slight bump can bruise the inner flesh of the fruit.

Season of Harvest & Availability

Gold nugget mandarins have a long harvesting period. They are harvestable in early March and continue to bear fruit across the spring. Thus they are available from the late winter to the early summer.

Due to having a long harvesting period farmers prefer growing them over other Citrus varieties. When mature they have a deep orange color.

Satsuma mandarins get matured in September and October. When ripen the fruits bear dark orange color. But some may still look green when it’s fully ripe.

Satsuma mandarins should be collected promptly as they don’t hold well onto the tree. The ripening state and the quality last about two weeks. 

Afterward, it loses the juice and the flavor. Satsuma mandarins are available throughout the winter months. Growing satsuma mandarins and gold nugget mandarins can be done indoors as well.

For indoor cultivation, the following sized containers will be useful-

8 Inch Round Prima Planter

Check Latest Price

8 Inch Eclipse Round Planter with Saucer

Check Latest Price

Bloem Saturn Planter with Saucer, 10″

Check Latest Price

10 Inch Round Prima Planter Plastic Plant Pot 

Check Latest Price

Bloem Terra Pot Planter (TR1200), Black, 12″

Check Latest Price

12 Inch Round Prima Planter – Plastic Plant Pot with Rolled Rim

Check Latest Price

Gro Pro Premium Round Fabric Pot 15 Gallon

Check Latest Price

Gro Pro Premium Nursery Pot 20 Gallon

Buy Now!

You can start with an 8” nursery pot and then move on to bigger pot sizes. 

Nutrition Facts:

Both gold nugget mandarins and satsuma mandarins are rich in nutrition. Here’s a chart for comparing the nutrition value of both mandarins. The calculation is based on one fruit.

Nutrition  Gold Nugget Mandarin  Satsuma Mandarin
Calories  35-40 35-50
Carbohydrate  8 g  9 g
Fiber  1 g 2 g 
Protein  1 g 1 g
Vitamin A 225 mcg  30 mcg
Vitamin C 9 mg 66 mg
Vitamin B1 0 mg  0.1 mg
Vitamin B3 0 mg 0.8 mg
Vitamin B6 0 mg 0.1 mg
Calcium  22 mg 40 g
Iron  0.1 mg 8 mg
Folate  0 mg 32 mcg
Magnesium  0 mg 8 mg
Phosphorus  0 mg 20 mg
Potassium  131 mg 200 mg


Since both are mandarins their application and recipes would be quite similar. Both are best enjoyed with fresh preparations like salad, smoothies, fruit punches, or in cocktails.  

You can also use them for cooking jams, marmalade, jelly, and for baking purposes. Gold nugget mandarin goes well with meat and seafood recipes especially.

Satsuma has a strong flavor which is also a bit acidic. So it pairs well with spicy flavors like ginger, garlic, soy sauce, honey, and olive oil. You can also pair it with arugula, yogurt, endive, etc.


Gold nugget mandarins stay fresh for up to 2 weeks. The guideline for storing them is to put them in a plastic bag inside the crisper drawer of the refrigerator.

Satsuma mandarins can stay fresh for up to 5 days at room temperature. When stored in the refrigerator it stays well for about two weeks.

Gold Nugget Mandarin Vs Satsuma: Final Verdict

Both gold nugget mandarin and satsuma mandarins are great delicacies that are rich in nutrients. Both are definitely worth trying out in various recipes. 

But if you’re planning to cultivate them, a couple of things should be considered first. For example, the weather of the place, the soil of the growth bed, watering conditions, etc.

Although they grow almost in any area, extreme weather is not suitable for these plants. Both require sunlight for growth, especially gold nugget mandarins.

When cultivated properly you can achieve a good yield. 

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs):

What is the harvesting season for Owari satsuma?

Owari satsuma mandarins mature in October to November months. As the fruit matures the size increases. The skin roughens and gets loosened. The growth of the tree is slow but it’s consistent. 

What is the harvesting season for Silverhill satsuma?

The harvesting season for Silverhill satsuma is October and November month. The fruit matures around this time and appears to be mid-sized. The skin grows comparatively thin and smooth

What is the harvesting season for Kimbrough satsuma?

Kimbrough satsuma is harvested in October and November months. This variety of mandarin grows a bit bigger than Owari satsuma. Other than the size all other characteristics resemble the Owari satsuma variety. 


That was all from our side regarding the comparison between gold nugget mandarin vs satsuma. Hopefully, the pieces of information we provided were helpful to you. 

Don’t forget to try out these delicacies with different recipes. Also, make sure to store them maintaining proper guidelines. 

Good luck!

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *