Most canned tangerines come from China where there are factories full of people who work to ensure that we can eat canned mandarins. Women have to peel countless mandarins there, and have about ten seconds per mandarin. That means they peel six per minute, which is equivalent to 360 mandarins per person, per hour! The peeled mandarins then go on a conveyor belt to their next destination: a nice bath.
The bath in which the mandarins go consists of the chemical, caustic soda. This is the same caustic substance that is used to unblock drains. It breaks down organic matter, which can unclog a sink, and it dissolves the food residues in drain pipes. Criminals also use this chemical to get rid of body parts. For that reason, you shouldn’t get caustic soda on your hands, because it can damage your skin. The mandarins are kept in caustic soda long enough to remove the skins and threads, but not long enough to attack the flesh.
To make the mandarins edible after the caustic soda bath, they are given a second bath in hydrochloric acid. This eliminates the caustic soda, because together the two chemical liquids are equivalent to water! After this the mandarins are canned with syrup, and are ready to start their journey to the supermarket.
This video teaches you how to do this yourself with tangerines:
Source: Keuringdienst van waarde | Image: Videostill