Oranges are a good source of vitamin C, fibre, calcium, potassium, magnesium and Vitamin B6, which are needed by the human body. The flavour and fragrance of the orange are also determined by their position on the tree they are grown on.
Oranges are available throughout the year and grow on evergreen trees which are about 30 feet high and 20 feet wide. The flowers of the orange are white and blossom in spring, however the fruits appear only by fall or winter. They are round or oval in shape and vary from orange to red/pink orange. The Orange is a kind of berry, which consists of sections that can be easily separated. Seeds which are also called pips may or may not be present in the sections. The fruit is covered externally by a leathery skin covering called the peel, which is embedded with several oil glands.
The orange is eaten differently by people across the globe. Western people prefer the juice and fresh fruit of the orange while people from Nepal eat the orange, leaving the peel on, however whatever way it is eaten, it will still remain one of the most refreshing fruits in existence. The fruit has a thick bitter rind that is usually discarded, but can be processed into animal feed by removing water from it, by using pressure and heat. It is also used in certain recipes as flavoring or a garnish and in Afghanistan, people place oranges as seasoning on the table.
Oranges grown in warm and tropical climatic conditions, are fleshy, juicy and succulent in nature, and are not only known for their luscious taste but also for their nutritional values. The flavour of the orange vary from sweet to sour or bitter.
There are more than 600 varieties of oranges, which are classified into three classes; the sweet, bitter/sour and the loose skinned types.
The largest producer of oranges in the world is Brazil, with Florida in the US being the second largest producer. The blood orange variety which falls under the sweet variety, is mostly grown in Italy, the Clementine variety is mostly grown in Morocco and the Jaffa variety comes from Israel while the Seville variety is grown in Spain.
All parts of the orange are used, and nothing is wasted.
The orange juice is squeezed from the orange by using a squeezer and the juice is drunk freshly squeezed.
Orange oil is used as an essential oil and is made by pressing the peel. It can then be used in perfumes and aromatherapy. The oil can also be used as flavouring in food and drink.
Orange tea is made from fallen blossoms which are dried and used to make tea.
Marmalade is made from sour or bitter oranges. When making this conserve, all parts of the orange are used and the pith and seeds are separated and placed in a muslin bag and are then boiled to extract their pectin. Pectin helps in settling the marmalade.
Orange peel is used by gardeners as natural slug repellents.However dried peel is also in sweet recipes.
Oranges do not tolerate frost. To prevent frost damage when sub-freezing temperatures are expected, the trees are sprayed with water for as long as unfrozen water is turning to ice on the trees’ branches, the ice that has formed stays just at the freezing point, thus giving protection even if air temperature have dropped very low.
The sweetness and acidity of the oranges can vary according to the country and the time of year they are grown, however whatever part of the world they are grown in, the orange will remain the most refreshing fruit of all!