One Strange Reason Clementines May Have Brown Spots Inside

It’s unusual for the inside of a clementine to go brown, as these fruits have tough peels that protect the inner flesh very well from damage and pests that might attack that flesh. However, if you have ever peeled a clementine and found brown patches inside, you might be feeling concerned.

Clementines may be brown inside due to frass left behind by insects, although it isn’t always exactly clear what causes brown spots to appear. This is relatively rare, and most oranges will not have brown spots in them.

Most citrus fruits do not get brown spots on the insides unless they have been damaged and started to rot on the outsides, but occasionally, you may find tiny brown seed-like flecks inside your clementine – so let’s explore this!

Why Is My Clementine Brown Inside?


It is quite rare for clementines to develop brown inside the flesh because the beads that make up the different segments are different from those of other fruits – so they won’t usually take on brown colors when the cell walls break down as, for example, an apple might.

However, clementines can develop brown flecks inside them, usually in the center of the clementine, rather than buried in the segments themselves.

These may be formed because insects have got into the center of the clementine, and their waste builds up in the middle. This buildup is often referred to as frass, and it indicates that at least some pests have entered the clementine and been eating the fruit.

The insects will eject their waste just like all other animals, and this can cause a buildup inside the fruit. That might make you feel a little squeamish, but in general, frass is a harmless product that is safe to eat, and you often won’t even notice it inside the clementine. Eating it will not do you any harm, and won’t affect the taste of the fruit.

You might not be able to see any holes through which insects could have accessed the clementine, but it is possible that eggs were laid inside the fruit or that tiny insects crawled inside while the fruit was forming.

Is It Crystallized Sugar?

Some people say that the brown bits inside an orange are formations of crystallized sugar and that this occurs because the fruit was left on the plant for too long, but this is unlikely to happen in most cases. The clementine shouldn’t form sugar in its center unless it has been damaged; the sugar should be inside the fruit segments.

It is possible for sugar to crystallize in the center of your fruit, but this isn’t very likely, so the chances are that it is frass and not sugar. Even if you cannot see insects inside the clementine now, they may have entered it previously, and the frass will be evidence of this.

Do I Need To Take The Brown Bits Out?

If you don’t want to eat the frass in the clementine, you can pick it out. It should be easy enough to remove, and it is usually quite visible, so you should be able to see it. Simply use your fingernails or a spoon or knife to flick it away from the rest of the flesh.

However, the frass shouldn’t hurt you and if you would rather leave it in place, you can do. There’s no reason to remove it unless it makes you uncomfortable to eat it.

Should I Eat A Clementine With Lots Of Brown Inside The Flesh?

If you peel a clementine and find that the inside of the fruit is full of brown flecks, you can still eat the clementine safely. This doesn’t indicate that the fruit has gone off or that it is full of bacteria or fungi.

All you need to do if the amount of brown makes you uncomfortable is to split the segments apart and then remove the brown flecks and give the segments a good wash. This will remove any remaining residue and make the clementine safe to eat.

There is no reason to throw away a clementine that has brown in its center, and doing so would be wasteful in terms of both money and resources.

How Do I Know If A Clementine Has Gone Bad?

In general, you can tell a clementine has gone bad by the following:

  • Wrinkly peel
  • Discoloration on the peel
  • Soft flesh
  • Mold appearing on the outside of the clementine
  • A strange, sour smell
  • A slimy texture inside the peel
  • A sour or alcoholic taste

A clementine that has gone bad will usually feel soft when you handle it, rather than firm. This is because it will have lost a lot of its moisture, making the peel looser and the fruit squishier. It may also have developed spots of mold on the outside, which will quickly have spread to the inside of the fruit.

Don’t eat a clementine that has mold anywhere on it, as this may have spread through the inner flesh even if you can’t yet see it. The spores may be invisible, but they could still make you sick. Getting food poisoning from fruit isn’t very common, but you should still avoid eating any clementines that look odd or have turned moldy.

A clementine that smells funny should also be avoided, as odd scents indicate that the chemical composition of the fruit has changed and its juices have begun to ferment. At this point, the clementine will often taste strange, possibly alcoholic, which indicates that it should not be eaten. If you bite into a clementine and find it tastes odd, spit it out and discard the rest.


Clementines are not usually brown inside, as they don’t bruise the way that many other fruits do. If you find brown flecks inside your clementine, it’s possible that they are the result of insects eating the fruit and excreting their waste into the center. You can remove these flecks of brown if you would rather not eat them.

Alexandre Valente

Hey there! My name is Alex and I've been vegan for more than five years! I've set up this blog because I'm really passionate about veganism and living a more eco-conscious life. Hopefully, I can use this website as a channel to help you out on your own journey!

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