Botanical Name: Citrus aurantium
Species: C. × sinensis
Synonyms: Citrus vulgaris. Citrus Bigaradia. Citrus aurantium amara. Bigaradier. Bigarade Orange. Bitter Orange. Seville Orange. (Sweet) Portugal Orange. China Orange. Citrus dulcis.
Parts Used: Fruit, flowers, peel.
Habitat: India, China. Cultivated in Spain, Madeira, etc.
Both common and official names are derived from the Sanskrit nagaranga through the Arabic naranj.
It is a small tree with a smooth, greyishbrown bark and branches that spread into a fairly regular hemisphere. The oval, alternate, evergreen leaves, 3 to 4 inches long, have sometimes a spine in the axil. They are glossy, dark green on the upper side, paler beneath. The calyx is cup-shaped and the thick, fleshy petals, five in number, are intensely white, and curl back.
Orange ”specifically, sweet orange” refers to the citrus tree Citrus sinensis (syn. Citrus aurantium L. var. dulcis L., or Citrus aurantium Risso) and its fruit. The orange is a hybrid of ancient cultivated origin, possibly between pomelo (Citrus maxima) and tangerine (Citrus reticulata). It is a small flowering tree growing to about 10 m tall with evergreen leaves, which are arranged alternately, of ovate shape with crenulate margins. The orange fruit is a hesperidium, a type of berry.
The word “orange” ultimately comes from Sanskrit narang or Tamil. The fruit typically has 11 individual pieces inside and in Tamil, the word “Orangu” translates to “6 and 5” implying 11. Oranges originated in southeast Asia, in either India, Vietnam or southern China. The fruit of Citrus sinensis is called sweet orange to distinguish it from Citrus aurantium, the bitter orange. In a number of languages, it is known as a “Chinese apple” (e.g. Dutch Sinaasappel, “China’s apple”).
Oranges are highly valued for their vitamin C content. It is a primary source of vitamin C for most Americans. This wonderful fruit has more to offer nutritionally than just this one nutrient, containing sufficient amounts of folacin, calcium, potassium, thiamin, niacin and magnesium. Most of the consumption of oranges is in the form of juice. Eating the whole fruit provides 130% of the recommended dietary allowance for vitamin C, less than the juice, but more fiber, which is not present in the juice.
The fruit is technically a hesperidium, a kind of berry. It consists of several easily separated carpels, or sections, each containing several seeds and many juice cells, covered by a leathery skin, containing numerous oil glands. Orange trees are evergreens, seldom exceeding 30 ft in height. The leaves are oval and glossy and the flowers are white and fragrant.
These semitropical evergreens probably originated in Southeast Asia. Columbus and other European travelers brought sweet orange seed and seedlings with them to the New World. By 1820 there were groves in St Augustine, Florida, and by the end of the Civil War oranges were being shipped north in groves. A freeze produced a major set back in production in 1895, but by 1910 crops in Florida had been reestablished. Florida is the number one citrus producer, producing 70% of the U.S. crop, with 90% of that going into juice. However, Arizona, Texas, and California also produce small amounts, with variations in color and peel.
All citrus trees are of the single genus Citrus, and remain largely interbreedable; that is, there is only one “superspecies” which includes lemons, limes and oranges. Nevertheless, names have been given to the various members of the citrus family, oranges often being referred to as Citrus sinensis and Citrus aurantium. Fruits of all members of the genus Citrus are considered berries because they have many seeds, are fleshy and soft, and derive from a single ovary. An orange seed is sometimes referred to as a pip.
The Persian orange, grown widely in southern Europe after its introduction to Italy in the 11th century, was bitter. Sweet oranges brought to Europe in the 15th century from India by Portuguese traders, quickly displaced the bitter, and are now the most common variety of orange cultivated. The sweet orange will grow to different sizes and colours according to local conditions, most commonly with ten carpels, or segments, inside.
A single mutation in 1820 in an orchard of sweet oranges planted at a monastery in Brazil yielded the navel orange, also known as the Washington, Riverside or Bahie navel. The mutation causes navel oranges to develop a second orange at the base of the original fruit, opposite the stem. The second orange develops as a cojoined twin in a set of smaller segments embedded within the peel of the larger orange. From the outside, the smaller, undeveloped twin left a formation at the bottom of the fruit, looking similar to the human navel.
Because the mutation left the fruit seedless and therefore sterile, the only means available to cultivate more of this new variety is to graft cuttings onto other varieties of citrus tree. Two such cuttings of the original tree were transplanted to Riverside, California in 1870, which eventually led to worldwide popularity.
Today, navel oranges continue to be produced via cutting and grafting. This does not allow for the usual selective breeding methodologies, and so not only do the navel oranges of today have exactly the same genetic makeup as the original tree, but also, they all can even be considered to be the fruit of that single, now centuries-old tree.
On rare occasions, however, further mutations can lead to new varieties.
Valencia orange……....click to see
The Valencia or Murcia orange is one of the sweet oranges used for juice extraction. It is a late-season fruit, and therefore a popular variety when the navel oranges are out of season. For this reason, the orange was chosen to be the official mascot of the 1982 FIFA World Cup, which was held in Spain. The mascot was called “Naranjito” (“little orange”), and wore the colours of the Spanish soccer team uniform.
Blood orange….click to see
Orange output in 2005The blood orange has streaks of red in the fruit, and the juice is often a dark burgundy colour. The fruit has found a niche as an interesting ingredient variation on traditional Seville marmalade, with its striking red streaks and distinct flavour. The mandarin orange is similar, but smaller and sweeter, and the scarlet navel is a variety with the same diploid mutation as the navel orange.
Constituents: The peel of var. Bigaradia contains volatile oil, three glucosides, hesperidin, isohesperidin, an amorphous bitter principle, Aurantiamarin, aurantiamaric acid, resin, etc.
The ethyl ether of -naphthol, under the name of nerolin, is an artificial oil of neroli, said to be ten times as strong.
Oil of Orange Flowers is:
‘soluble in an equal volume of alcohol, the solution having a violet fluorescence and a neutral reaction to litmus paper. The specific gravity is 0.868 to 0.880 at 25 degrees C. (77 degrees F.). When agitated with a concentrated solution of sodium bisulphate it assumes a permanent purple-red colour.’
It must not be coloured by sulphuretted hydrogen.
Oil of Sweet Orange Peel contains at least 90 per cent o-limonene, the remaining 10 per cent being the odorous constituents, citral, citronellal, etc. It is a yellow liquid with the specific gravity 0.842 to 0.846 at 25 degrees C. (77 degrees F.).
Oil of Bitter Orange Peel, a pale yellow liquid, is soluble in four volumes of alcohol, the solution being neutral to litmus paper. The specific gravity is 0.842 to 0.848 at 25 degrees C. (77 degrees F.). The odour is more delicate than that of the Sweet Orange.
Fuming nitric acid gives a dark green colour to sweet peel and a brown to the bitter.
Medicinal Action and Uses:
The oil is used chiefly as a flavouring agent, but may be used in the same way as oil of turpentine in chronic bronchitis. It is non-irritant to the kidneys and pleasant to take.
On the Continent an infusion of dried flowers is used as a mild nervous stimulant.
The powdered Bitter Orange peel should be dried over freshly-burnt lime. For flavouring, the sweet peel is better, and as a tonic, that of the Seville or Bigaradia is preferred.
A syrup and an elixir are used for flavouring, and a wine as a vehicle for medicines.
The compound wine is too dangerous as an intoxicant, being mixed with absinthium, to be recommended as a tonic.
Preparations of Bitter Orange: Syrup, B.P., 1/2 to 1 drachm. Tincture, B.P. and U.S.P., 1/2 to 1 drachm. Infusion of Orange, B.P., 4 to 8 drachms. Infusion of Orange Compound, B.P., 4 to 8 drachms. Compound spirit, U.S.P., 1 to 2 drachms. Syrup, B.P., 1/2 to 1 drachm. Wine, B.P., a wineglassful.
Preparations of Sweet Orange: Syrup, B.P. and U.S.P., 1/2 to 1 drachm. Tincture, U.S.P., 1/2 to 1 drachm.
Make Oranges Part of Your 5 A Day Plan
Drink a cool glass of orange juice for breakfast or serve orange halves instead of grapefruit for a change.
Combine the juice with other fruits and yogurt in the blender for a smoothie any time of day.
A couple of tablespoons of orange juice concentrate can be added to a fruit cup for a great flavorful sauce.
Cut oranges into wedges and eat them for a light snack or use them as edible garnishes.
Buy a zesting tool or grate orange rind to use in recipes, rice, or stir fry for added flavor.
Carry an orange with you wherever you go, they come in their own covered container so you can just peel and eat orange segments whenever the snack craze occurs.
Orange juice can be used over fresh fruits to prevent browning.
Disclaimer : The information presented herein is intended for educational purposes only. Individual results may vary, and before using any supplement, it is always advisable to consult with your own health care provider.