Approaching winter, approaching tangerines
LOVBOD  ·  2021-03-31

How are you? You still like tangerines?

I had a best friend whom I was always with when I was in elementary school. Sadly, I don’t know where she is and what she’s doing now I can’t even remember her face clearly but the times I spent with her still remain in my memories. Her name was Ye-Rim. There are two things that come to mind first when I think of Yerim. Charming eyes that rise sharply without double eyelids and a small palm which was colored in yellow(Actually, it was more closer to orange) in all seasons.

“Ye-Rim, why are your hands so yellow?”

“Me? Because I eat too much tangerines!”


I was always curious of Ye-Rim’s palms. I was worried whether she was sick, wondering how her palms could be of that color, not being anywhere else. Every time I was puzzled and worried, Ye-Rim replied that it was because she ate too many tangerines and oranges, as if it were not a big deal.

It’s a little funny but that careless answer from Ye-Rim sounded quite scary to me, as a student in elementary school. No matter how they say ‘I am what I eat’, sometimes when I look at her hands, I was curious if the palms turn into green if you eat a lot of lettuce and turn red if you eat a lot of strawberries. Perhaps because of that, I ate only a few tangerines during the winter of the year when I first met Yerim.It was quite a scary thing for me as a young child, allowing my hands to turn into yellow(or orange like Ye-Rim’s). Could the hands really get dyed just because eating a lot of tangerines?

Really, the hands turn yellow because of tangerines?

Just like Ye-Rim has said, there is ‘beta-Carotene(β-carotene)’ inside the peel of the tangerines which gives out that yellow color and therefore, stains the skin in yellow. Beta-carotene is a red-yellow carotenoid pigment substance that removes harmful oxygen compounds. However, it does not just stain the surface of the skin like a tint, but it spreads through the blood in the body if you eat a lot of tangerines, so it will accumulate in the palm of your hand or the eyelids with thin skin. This is called ‘Carotenemia’ and I made a guess that Ye-Rim’s palms were yellow because of this Carotenemia. However, for carotenemia, there could be individual differences(for a short time of few hours to maximum of 3 months) depending on the amount eaten and other things but it disappears quickly if you don’t eat tangerines since it is just a temporary discoloration. On the other hand, Ye-Rim’s hands were yellow in all seasons even though she didn’t eat tangerines so I think that she might have been born with a slightly more yellow palms than other people.

If your skins shining in yellow because you ate a lot of tangerines during winter, don’t worry but enjoy tangerines and that cute yellow skin which you can only see during winter. But if the white of the eye apart from the parts mentioned earlier turned yellow as well, you should suspect jaundice due to liver disease or thyroid disease. Since carotene can’t enter the white of the eye, if you see symptoms of jaundice, I suggest you visit a doctor as quick as possible.

All bad things to the tangerine’s peel, and let’s peel it and eat it

I don’t know if Yerim’s hands are still that color I remember, but I’ve already become an adult who knows that no matter how many tangerines who eats, it doesn’t turn yellow in all four seasons If someone asks me how many tangerines I can eat, I can answer back, “Half box at the spot.” without hesitation. As a fruit hunter, I like all the fruits except for durians but one of my favorite fruits is tangerine. I have been greatly affected by the book 『Notebook walking in the musician Kim Mok-In』 written by the musician, Kim Mok-In for my affection for tangerines. After reading ‘All bad things to the tangerine’s peel, and let’s peel it and eat it.’ written at the book band of Kim Mok-In’s book, I peeled off the tangerine peels and ate it while thinking of upsetting things every time it became the season where I can eat tangerines. Then I felt like mind became lighter with no reason. It felt like I forgot about it because of the sweet and sour taste of it.

So don’t worry and eat tangerines as much as you want in the warm heating pad before the spring breeze comes. We’re at the end of the season, which I have been complaining about that it was such a cold winter with a lot of snow and now I’m regretting for no reason. You can’t hold back the season that is leaving so at least eat the left-over tangerines in the refrigerator deliciously.

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