What You Don’t Know About Oranges
You can order orange varieties of several kinds from Hale Groves! Oranges are a wonderful fruit to enjoy in the winter. You probably already know they’re low in calories, big in flavor, and excellent sources of vitamin C, but did you know they’re high in dietary fiber, thiamin, potassium, vitamin A, beta-carotene and calcium as well? It’s true – regularly including navel oranges in your diet may help protect you against heart disease, cancer and diabetes while also helping to improve memory, blood pressure, immune system and overall health.
Here are some more interesting facts about oranges you may not have know:
- Oranges are a naturally occurring hybrid fruit. The orange is actually a hybrid fruit that comes from two of the main original citrus fruits: the mandarin orange and the pomelo. Like a mandarin, oranges are round fruits with an orange color. From the grapefruit-like pomelo, however, the orange gets its larger size, thicker skin and more fibrous flesh. The flavor is a mixture of both fruits…while the pomelo is very sour, mandarin oranges are very sweet. The mixture of the two fruits gives oranges their tangy-sweet flavor.
The color is named for the fruit, not the fruit for the color.
You’ve heard the riddle about the chicken and the egg? A similar question applies to oranges: which came first, the color or the fruit? In this case, we know it was the fruit (at least in name): according to etymologists, the color orange was named after the citrus fruit. It evolved from the Spanish word “Naranja,” meaning “orange tree.” The Spanish word originally came from a Sanskrit word. In the 16th century, when the fruit became widely available in Europe, the English dropped the “n” and began using the word “orange” to describe the color.
Not all oranges are orange.
Believe it or not, oranges aren’t always orange. In warmer parts of the world (like around the equator), oranges remain green after ripening. As an orange matures, it is full of chlorophyll. If exposed to cool temperatures during the maturing process, chlorophyll will die off and the orange color comes through. Shoppers in the US often shun oranges with partially green skins because they fear these fruits won’t taste as sweet, but they needn’t – the sweetness inside is not affected by the color without at all.
Oranges are not indigenous to North America.
Florida orange groves may be famous the world over, but the fruit is a relative newcomer to the United States – it originated in what is now southern China and Malaysia. The first citrus fruits were brought to the New World in 1493 by Christopher Columbus. In the mid-1500s one of the early Spanish explorers (most likely Ponce de Leon) planted the first orange trees around St. Augustine, Florida. Florida’s sandy soil and subtropical climate proved to be ideal for growing the seeds the early settlers planted, and orange trees have flourished in the state ever since. Growing oranges is a $9 billion industry, and Florida oranges are second only to Brazilian oranges in the commercial production of orange juice.
“Purple,” “month” and “orange” are unrhymable words…right?
They say there’s no common noun that rhymes with the word “orange” (Blorenge Mountain in Wales doesn’t count since it’s a proper noun), but there is one…”sporange,” a word used to describe a sac spores are made in (no, we’re not making this up). Since you’re not likely to use that word on a day-to-day basis, you may want to avoid ending a line of poetry with the world “orange.”
Small ones aren’t sweeter.
At least, that rule of thumb doesn’t apply to the navel orange – nor does it apply to the fruit itself, but the stem-end “navel” on one side of the fruit. That navel is actually a second, undeveloped twin fruit that forms opposite the stem. The larger the navel, the sweeter the fruit. Grove Navel Oranges are part of the winter citrus family. They are seedless, easy to peel, and one of the best-tasting oranges available.
Orange trees are heavy drinkers.
Orange trees thrive best when planted in well-drained soil and given regular, deep watering. It takes about 14 gallons (approximately 50 glasses) of water to grow a single orange! A newly planted citrus tree should be watered at least weekly with enough water to saturate the soil around the drip zone.
Oranges are great for more than eating.
Fresh out of hand, sliced into salads, made into cocktails…the culinary uses of oranges are endless. But the rind is also useful in making natural cleaning products. After you’ve eaten a yummy orange, toss the peels into the garbage disposal and let it run for thirty seconds and that will soon knock out any bad smells! Orange peels can also be left at the bottom of a garbage can to freshen the smell or wrapped in cheesecloth and used to deodorize shoes.
You see? Not only are tasty oranges one of the most popular fruits in the world…they’re also one of the most interesting!
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