Orange (Citrus sinensis) Oranges are one of the most common citrus fruits, widely grown in warmer climates and distributed worldwide. Oranges are orange in colour - the colour is named for the fruit, not the other way around. All citrus trees are of a single genus, Citrus, and remain largely interbreedable - that is, there is only one "superspecies" which includes lemons and limes as well as 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.
The sweet delicious juicy orange eaten all around the world was born a sour fruit, growing wild in China. Dating back thousands of years, the orange was probably being cultivated by the Chinese by 2500 BC. It may also have found roots in the Assam area of India and in Myanmar. Mysteriously, for thousands of years oranges seem to have remained an Oriental treat, not written up in the Middle East, not mentioned by the Greeks. Those which reached the west in the earliest days were of the sour variety. Eventually the Romans, always in the market for exotic produce, brought young trees from India, probably in the first century AD. After the fall of Rome in the 5th c. AD, orange raising and importing both died out for centuries. Orange trees most likely were planted across North Africa by the first century AD and in southern Spain by the 8th or 9th century. By the 1200's orange groves were a feature of an area extending from Seville to Granada, as well as regions of Portugal. Another Muslim group, the Saracens, brought orange growing to Sicily at about the same time. The orange first ventured across the Atlantic Ocean in 1493 with Christopher Columbus. Columbus carried seeds of the orange, lemon and citron, or possibly young trees, from Spain's Canary Islands to the island of Hispaniola, today shared by Haiti and the Dominican Republic. Soon several of the Caribbean islands were raising oranges, whether sweet or sour or both. Seedlings reached Panama with the Spanish in 1516 and Mexico two years later. The native Americans living there supposedly were intrigued with the orange trees and tended them with care. At about the same time the Portuguese were planting sweet oranges in their enormous South American colony of Brazil.
Serving size: 100 grams
Oranges do not necessarily have to have a bright orange color to be good. Oranges that are partially green or have brown russetting may be just as ripe and tasty as those that are solid in color. Avoid oranges that have soft spots or traces of mold.