Citrus fruits are full of great health benefits.

You'll be glad to know they're nutrient-dense foods packed full of vitamins and minerals, fibre and phytochemicals without fat or salt.

This is important in countries like Australia where obesity is reaching epidemic proportions.

Mandarins originated from southern China and were named after the Chinese officials of the Imperial court the "Mandarins" who used the fruit for various medicinal purposes.

Last year Australians consumed more than 70,000 tonnes of Australian mandarins throughout the season, which was grown on over 2.3 million Australian citrus trees. A single mandarin provides adults with 190% of their daily intake of Vitamin C, whereas apples provide 40% and bananas 33%.

Imperials are the most popular mandarin variety because they are the first to be harvested each season. They are a golden-orange mandarin, and one of a handful of popular citrus varieties that have originated in Australia.

The variety was first recognized in Sydney in 1890. Imperials are easy to peel, have very few seeds, and can be enjoyed as a perfect portable snack.

Although Fremonts can often be smaller than most mandarins, they have a rich sweet flavour and an attractive deeper flesh colour. This Californian variety has been grown in Australia since 1968.

The rich flavour of Fremonts make them a perfect addition to baking recipes and topping for desserts.

The Sunburst mandarin variety can be identified by its beautiful ridging around the stem. They are a deep red-orange colour and have a high juice content, which means they are perfect for juicing.

Paler skin patches are just a bleaching effect from direct sunlight on the fruit as they grow.

The Taylor-Lee mandarin is another Australian bred variety. It is large in size and has relatively few seeds compared to other varieties. Taylor Lee's are extremely juicy!

Murcott mandarin varieties are known for their attractive appearance and excellent flavour. It is a large variety with the reputation of being sweet. They are also a favourite for juicing.

They are often referred to as Honey Murcott because of their sweetness.

The Nova mandarin is a cross between a Clementine and a tangelo. It is a very attractive fruit with dark orange skin and flesh. Its pebbly skin can be thin and tight, but is still easy to peel.

Daisy mandarins are known for their bold and aromatic flavour. They are also popular due to their large size, and their rich glossy skin. The variety is a cross between a Fortune and Fremont mandarin. Daisy's keep well, look for opportunities to buy in bulk.

Hicksons are the most common mid-season mandarin. They are also an Australian variety, originating in Queensland in 1941. Hicksons are known for their brilliant bright orange skin. Hicksons are easier to peel later in their season when their skins become slightly puffy or loose.

The Afourer variety originates from Morocco. It develops a highly attractive deep orange-red colour and is easy to peel. It is known to be very flavoursome. It can be seedless, but this can be affected by growing conditions.

Afourer are a juicy variety. Consider adding it to your juices through winter.

Mineolas are a variety of tangelo. Tangelos are the result of crossing a mandarin and a grapefruit. The fruit are a rich orange colour and look more like a mandarin in appearance than grapefruit.

Mineola is the most popular variety because of its brilliant colour and unusual pear shape.