During the winter months Japanese people often like to relax under their heated tables (kotatsu) and enjoy a nice mikan tangerine. Its juicy sweetness and vitamin C is a great compliment to these chilly nights. But really, anywhere in the world, anytime is a good time to enjoy some variation of orange, isn’t it?

So next time you get ready to peel a mandarin or clementine how about making it into a caterpillar first like many Twitter users in Japan have been doing in recent years? It’s super easy and we’re going to show you how.

Most of this process is simply making an “orange strip” as outlined by Sara at JewelPie. All it takes is a mikan or similar fruit and a knife. I recommend using the biggest knife you can find, because it’s like, cool.

First, just slice off the top and bottom portion of the peel. Be careful not to puncture the flesh inside!

Okay, now if your orange looks like this then STOP! I screwed it up at this point. Because I was preoccupied with not cutting too deep, I forgot to consider how wide it should be. When you go to make the incision yourself, be sure to cut at least 25 percent wider around the top and bottom. But since we love mikan, we’re going to push on with our experiment despite the less-than-ideal hole size.

Next, make another careful incision along the side.

When it’s complete, you just have to pull your mikan open. Since mine was destined for failure already it didn’t come apart smoothly because the peel was still holding the individual slices too tightly, causing it to break in two.

For the purposes of Sara’s recipe this is fine since it’s only meant to be a convenient way to enjoy an orange. But for making a caterpillar, it’s a complete wash. In half, it now looks more like an isopod than a caterpillar.

All that’s left to do is draw on the face of your caterpillar or isopod with a marker. I decided to draw on Mr. Sato‘s face.

And you’re done!

I know… Mine sucked, so here are some made by other mikan lovers that were posted on Twitter.


Image: Twitpic

Image: Twitpic

Image: Twitpic

You might notice that a common pattern people drew belongs to a Spicebush Swallowtail caterpillar known for its bright orange coloring and two large markings that resemble eyes giving it the appearance of a snake to predators. But by all means draw whatever pops into your head when making your own, because for this caterpillar the only predator is you! We’ll now leave you with a little more of our Mr. Satopillar isopod.

Source: JewelPie, Naver Matome (Japanese)
Images: RocketNews24 unless otherwise noted