Oranges are tasty. Oranges are succulent. They have numerous health benefits and they have been around for since antiquity. In this article on general orange facts, we are going to learn 20 facts that we should know about this favorite fruit of ours. Some of the facts may be already known to you but there will be some facts that you will not be aware of. So, let’s get started. Well, just one thing! We will cover health benefits of oranges in a separate article. Let’s begin!
General Orange Facts: 1-5
1. Oranges belong to the family of Rutaceae of the genus Citrus. This citrus fruit is a hybrid of Pomelo and Mandarin. Its botanical name is Citrus sinesis. There are around 600 varieties of oranges. It is an evergreen tree.
2. They originated in South-east Asia and their cultivation began in 4000 BCE. They reached Africa, thanks to travelers and from there reached Rome in 200 BCE. This is a short history of how sweet oranges became popular all over the world.
3. While the sweet oranges had to take a long tour to reach Europe, the sour ones were introduced to Europeans by Arabs in 10 CE. It is believed that it was Christopher Columbus who brought orange seeds to America in 1493.
4. The orange tree can grow up to 30-33 feet high. Its leaves are oval and have fine teeth which are rounded on the edges.
5. Orange belongs to the group of berries, hesperidium to be precise. Hesperidium is a fruit whose pulp is sectioned inside a detachable rind. It rarely reproduces with the help of seed. Grafting is the method mostly used for its cultivation.
General Orange Facts: 6-10
6. Every year 70 million tons of oranges are produced. 85% of the oranges are made into orange juice and then consumed.
7. The oranges cultivated in warm climates are sweeter than the temperate ones. The more time you allow the oranges to be attached to the tree, the sweeter they become.
8. Oranges are just not orange! They are green too. Though they appear green and unripen, they taste the same as the normal orange we see. The peel is green in color because it has the property of re-absorbing chlorophyll in warm climates. Oranges are orange in cold or temperate climate and has shades of green in tropical or warm climates.
9. Many people think that orange word has come from the color orange but it actually stemmed from a Sanskrit word “naranga” which in turn was taken from a Tamil word “naru” which means fragrant. The word naranga became narang in Persian and Arabic and finally was included in the English language by an Old French word “orenge”.
10. The wood of orange tree is non-absorbent and it doesn’t splinter. Hence it is used in beauty salons for manicure and pedicure.
General Orange Facts: 11-15
11. The name orange was first associated with the fruit and then came the color. The fruit originated way back in 4000 BCE but the word orange as color was prominently used during 1540’s. Earlier “geoluhread” was used to specify a yellowish-red hue which we now call as orange.
12. There exists a museum for oranges! Yes, the museum named as Museu de la Taronja is in Burriana close to a town of Valencia in Spain. Burriana made so much money from oranges that it never had to depend on tourism. The museum has around 5000 orange-box labels, lot of posters and tissue wrappers.
13. Orange’s peel is also helpful. It keeps the slugs away from your garden. In Jamaica, people use these peels to cut grease and oil. It is also used as a natural cleanser at home and it is used to make food too.
14. In China, the oranges are exchanged on their New Year’s Day. Those oranges are consumed on the second day of their new year. They believe that oranges are associated with good fortune. It is also considered that the Emperor gave oranges to his officials on the second day of a new year so along with good fortune it also connotes officialdom.
15. Brazil is the largest producer of oranges. It produces nearly 1/3rd of the total oranges produced in the world. USA is the country which is the largest consumer of the oranges (in the form of juice). Interestingly, of all citrus fruits, oranges top the list of production in quantitative terms.
General Orange Facts: 16-20
16. Three types of essential oils are extracted from the orange tree. The first one is extracted from the rind or the peel and it is used as flavoring agent. The second one from the leaves and young stems and is used in perfume industry. The third type of essential oil is extracted from the orange blossoms which is also used in making perfumes and flavors.
17. Oranges are never seen in wild. But why? Because they are cultivated in orangeries. Moreover, they are hybrid fruits. The sweet oranges (Citrus sinensis) originated from citrus and sinensis and the sour oranges (Citrus aurantium) originated from citrus and aurantium.
18. Oranges were considered as “Golden Apples” by Greek and Latin people. It is said that Hercules stole the first ever “golden apples” from the garden of Herperides. They also believed that orange tree has magical qualities and is associated with fertility because foliage, flower and fruit is produced simultaneously.
19. Here are few quickies. One seed may produce many orange trees. Oranges and their blossoms are symbol of love. After chocolate and vanilla, orange is the favorite flavor.
20. The oranges will never rot till they are plucked from the tree. Once they are plucked their shelf life is roughly about a week irrespective of whether you store them in refrigerator or normally outside.