Kinnow - A Neglected Healthy Fruit

Kinnow mandarin is one of the major citrus fruit crops of India and the national production is in tune of over 1.14 Million Metric Tonnes (Anonymous, 2016). Owing to its large availability in short period i.e. November to march, about 20-25% of total produce is lost due to faulty method of harvesting, post-harvesting, grading, packing, storage and transportation. The single most hindrance in the popularity and processing of kinnow mandarin juice is the development of (delayed) bitterness due to enzymatic conversion of a non-bitter precursor Limonoate-A ring Lactone (LARL) in to intensely bitter limonoid-limonin via limonoate-D-ring lactone hydrolase.

The kinnow is large fruit with 12 to 25 seeds and a globular shape. It matures in January to February. It easy peel citrus has assumed special economic importance and export demand due to its high juice content, special flavor and as a rich source of vitamin C. The factors which have contributed to the success of this fruit are its beautiful golden-orange color, its abundant juice, and its excellent aroma and taste. Its trees are highly productive with 1000 fruits per tree. Handsome returns, much higher than those obtained from most of other fruit crops, can be had from well looked-after kinnow orchards by adopting proper methods of cultivation. Kinnow fruits have more seeds per wedge than other citrus fruits. Some workers have made efforts to select seedless kinnows by survey or by the use of mutants. The seeds of kinnow are naturally diploid or tetraploid. Seedless triploid varieties have been developed.

Origin of Kinnow

The kinnow is a variety of citrus fruit cultivated extensively in Punjab region. It is a hybrid of two citrus cultivars - "King" (Citrus nobilis) x "Willow Leaf" (Citrus deliciosa), first developed by H. B. Frost at the Citrus Research Centre, University of California, Riverside, USA (Hui et al, 2006). After successful testing, the kinnow was released as a new variety for commercial cultivation in 1935.

In 1940, Punjab Agriculture College and Research Institute, Faisalabad, Pakistan, introduced the kinnow. It has become an important variety in the Punjab province of Pakistan, occupying major part of the area under cultivation for fruit crops. In India this variety was introduced by J. C. Bakhshi in 1954 at the Punjab Agricultural University, Regional Fruit Research Station, Abohar.

Harvesting of Kinnow

As a general rule, citrus will not ripen further after picking. Higher brix (sugar) levels are gained by leaving the fruit on the tree longer, so early season fruit tends to be a bit tart while late season product can be prone to molding. Avoid product with soft spots, dull and faded coloring or rough and bumpy skin. Kinnow harvesting starts when the fruit's external colour becomes orange, from December to February. The best harvesting time is mid-January to mid-February, when the fruit attains a TSS/acid ratio of 12:1 to 14:1. The fruit quality declines in later pickings. Fruits are harvested by clipping the stem with the help of specially designed sharp clippers (secatures) called kinnow clippers. In order to avoid damage to branches, the fruits high on twigs should be harvested with the help of ladders. During picking, care must be taken that length of peduncle should be as short as possible, otherwise longer stem may pierce into other fruits and create suitable site for growth of pathogens.

Harvesting during early morning when weather condition is humid and fruits are wet should be avoided. The rind is turgid when wet and can be readily bruised leading to decay during subsequent handling. The picked fruits should be collected in picking bags, but never dropped and pooled under the shade for subsequent grading. As it is a comparatively loose rind fruit, harvesting by pulling fruits with one's hands is avoided.

Storage procedure for kinnows

It is essential to check the deteriorative changes in produce, while prolonging its availability and marketability, thus ensuring higher returns to producer. For enhanced shelf life, fruits can be wrapped in HDPE (high density polyethylene) bags and packed in CFB boxes or wooden crates. Such fruits can be stored for 56 days. Waxing of kinnow increases its shelf life as well as improves consumer appeal. Coating kinnow fruits with commercial waxes can increase the shelf life up to 60 days. The fruit can be stored in cold storage at a temperature of 4-5°C and a relative humidity of 85-90% for 8 weeks. However, Pre-cooling Kinnow immediately after packing further extends its shelf life under storage conditions. Food processing includes the selection of good-quality mandarins. The ideal kinnow is firm to slightly soft, smooth-skinned with no deep grooves, and deep orange to almost red. Punjab Agricultural University in Ludhiana, Punjab has developed new technologies for obtaining higher yields of better quality fruits under the conditions of Indian Punjab. These fruits can be stored at room temperature conditions or under cold storage conditions (Rattanpal et al, 2008). In general, you don't need to refrigerate citrus if it will be consumed quickly, but it will last longer when refrigerated. Once they reach your preferred level of sweetness, place remaining fruit in the refrigerator to extend the shelf life.

Serving half cup (109 grams) of Kinnow juice contains:

Nutritional facts about Kinnow fruit

Kinnow is widely available in India in winter season. It is a popular citrus fruit cultivated in hot climate. Kinnow is loaded with vitamin C and vitamin B complex. Kinnow Mandarins are very low in Saturated Fat, Cholesterol and Sodium. They're also a good source of Dietary Fiber. Kinnow mandarins contain beta-carotene which has powerful antioxidant properties and helps the skin resist damage caused by the sun. Apart from these constituents it contains minerals such as iron and phosphorous.

Best things in kinnow

Health Benefits

Body Energizer

Having a kinnow a day will energize your body. Owing to the huge amounts of carbohydrates present in the fruit including glucose, fructose and sucrose, it proves to be one of the best sources of energy in winters.

Typhoid and Chronic Constipation

Kinnow is considered to be the best fruit for those recovering from typhoid and chronic constipation.

Aids Digestion and stomach health

One of the best qualities about Kinnow is that it absorbs into stomach and aids in digestion without placing any burden or load on stomach. Those with weak stomach are recommended to take kinnow juice instead of milk.

Relieves Acidity

Since Kinnow is rich in mineral salts, it helps in alleviating acidity. The fruit is very helpful for those leading sedentary lifestyle.

Intestinal Health

Kinnow is helpful in reducing sluggishness of intestines resulting from intake of junk and various sub-standard foods. It being rich in roughage helps relieve chronic constipation.

Miracle Health Fruit

Kinnow is often referred to as miraculous fruit for those who suffer from recurrent fevers. It helps in eliminating symptoms fever and elimination of toxic elements from kidneys. Regular intake of fruit helps in keeping skin healthy and clear. Besides quenching thirst, Kinnow juice is low in fat and helps burn calories fast.


Technical Assistant, Biotechnology Centre, JNKVV, Jabalpur-482004


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