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Oranges – Modified Berries

We all know that oranges are filled with vitamin C, but do you know other reasons why they’re good for us?

So what is an orange? We know they’re round in shape, orange in colour, whether it be bright or deep orange, citrusy or sweet. You may not know that ‘orange’ refers to many types of small fruits from evergreen trees or shrubs. Oranges are a hesperidium, a kind of modified berry with sectioned pulp inside and a separable skin which can be very textured. They are a seasonal fruit mainly growing in summertime.

The sweet orange is of Asian origin, especially from China and Southeast Asia, and and the earliest mention of the sweet orange was in the Chinese literature in 314 BC. It took almost 13 centuries to spread the sweet orange to Europe that was until the 14th century AD. When it arrives in Europe the warm and welcoming climate of Sicily made it very easy to grow,  When it arrives the Portuguese sailors who discovered it, spread it everywhere and it is now one of the most cherished oranges and many of the cultiver can be subdivdely into three groups, some more about that at ‘types of oranges’. The sweet orange accumulates 70% of the global production of oranges. Orange trees were found to be the most cultivated tree around the world.

How did oranges arrive in Australia? In 1788, seeds of oranges, lemons and limes were brought into Australia by Captain Phillip and the first Orange grove was planted in Bridge Street Sydney.  It was difficult to know whether or not that would be successful, but it was and due to this success they were given an extra 600 acres in Paramatta. In a few years the fruit managed to grow and then was sold for 6 to 9 pence. Now in today’s world, we have 2 main groups of oranges and over 400 different types. The two main categories are the Sweet orange and the Bitter orange. There are 4 varities that come from the sweet orange, known as the Common orange, Blood or pigmented orange, Navel oranges and Acidless oranges. Mandarins are also incuded in the sweet orange cateory. And three Bitter varites, such as Seville orange C, Bergamot orange and a Trifoliate orange. Some oriental fruits are included in this category such as Naruto and Sanbo of Japan, Kitchil of India, Nanshodaidai of Tiawan.

Types of oranges

1. Navel oranges originated from Brazil and were widely planted in the 1860s under the name of Bahia and then were changed to Washington DC when an improved variety was introduced in 1870, theyare from the sweet orange family. Today main varieties of the navel orange are

  • Washington DC – considered to be the best to eat, normally with thicker skin than the Valencias
  • Leng – this one has thinner skin with a finer texture to Washington and is often smaller
  • Late lane – smaller than Washington but is best when matured in September and October
  • Navelina – this is the newest member of the navel oranges

2. Valencia oranges other known as white or blonde oranges 

Valencia is grown in relation to Newton Valencia, this fruit is usually medium to large, usually with some seeds. It has medium to thick skin which is quite smooth in texture. They often start to mature around September to November, and their colour is fairly lighter. After maturing they tend to regreen, but this does not affect the taste or quality in any way, many growers say in the last season Valencia are the best oranges for juicing as they are very juicy. these are also relates to the sweet family

3. Mandarins, there are four different types, these are much smaller than every other orange, very easy to peel and can range in texture but is mostly smooth.

  • Early imperials – are small-medium size, they are smooth, thick-skinned and easy to peel, they mature around June to July
  • Ellendale – this fruit can be a bit larger than the imperials and have more of a bright orange colour, this fruit is a cross between a sweet orange and a mandarin. They are very flavourful and best mature around July to September
  • Murcott – this is the second most widely planted mandarin in Australia. Smooth skin typically lasts longer if stored in a cool area and has a higher juice content. They typically mature around August to October
  • Minneola tangelo – this is relatively a new fruit that has been grown, it is a cross between a Darcy mandarin and a Duncan grapefruit, and due to this cross it had the taste and characteristics of both parents. The skin is smooth and has a bright reddish colour, it is round like the rest but this one has a distinctive neck making it quite recognizable.

Do you know what came first, the fruit or colour??

Fun fact it was the fruit orange, the word was derived from the old French ‘orenge’ and the earliest recorded time period for this was in the 1300s, later along down the line in the 1500s – 1600s as the fruit became popular in some areas the word was used to create the colour orange. Originally in Europe they would describe the colour as yellow-red and, before the word came into proper English, saffron

What are the benefits of oranges??

  • Vitamin C has many benefits hence why it is beneficial for us to have vitamin C:
  1. Fights inflammation can reduce the severity of conditions like asthma, rheumatoid arthritis and cancer 
  2. Forms blood vessels, muscles, cartilage and collagen in your bones 
  3. Improves iron absorption and fights anemia
  4. Boosts the body’s immunity system 
  5. Slows age-related macular degeneration which can lead to vision loss (AMD) 
  6. Lowers blood pressure cortisol (the stress hormone)
  • Fibre – this can help keep sugar levels in check and reduces high cholesterol to prevent cardiovascular diseases 
  • Calcium – helps to build stronger bones and maintain bone health (dairy products aren’t the only thing you can get calcium from!!)
  • Folic acid or folate – is a b vitamin that is essential to the body, your body uses this to create your DNA and divides cells. If you don’t get enough of this it can lead to cancer, blood disease and even birth defects. (If you are pregnant you want to eat oranges daily for its a great natural source of folate) 
  • Potassium – this mineral regulates heartbeats and muscle function, it has been shown to lower blood pressure in people with hypertension 
  • Citric acid – this sour compound is a natural preservative, it can alter the urine and prevent the formation of kidney stones other known as calcium oxalate stones

There are many ways you can try oranges such as juices (you can mix it with other fruits as well to make it a super juice), you can eat it as a snack either room temp or cool, fruit salads are a great way to eat in summer or as a garnish.

We believe you should eat 1-2 oranges a day when in the season to constantly feed your body the nutrients it needs.

Stay beautiful and healthy I hope you enjoyed this blog and will see you in the next food blog for more interesting facts and tips.

Thank you

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