A Few Fun Facts About Oranges
One of the better known, if somewhat trivial facts about oranges, is in the English language, there is no other word that rhymes with orange, which gives the color orange the same dubious distinction as the word and color purple. There are many other facts about oranges that are much more interesting, and informative as well.
The orange is a citrus fruit, with close relatives being the lemon, the lime, and the grapefruit. All are popular, but the orange, no doubt because it is by far the sweetest of the citrus fruits, is the favorite. Technically the orange, along with the other citrus fruits, is classified as berry. This is due to the fact that an orange contains many seeds, though there are seedless varieties, and very soft flesh.
Where They Come From - TV ads remind us the most oranges grown in the United States come from Florida and California. Many of the California orange groves, some of which covered hundreds of acres, have been replaced by shopping malls and residential areas. California still is a major producer however. Brazil is the number one orange producer in the world, growing about twice as many oranges as does the United States, which is number two. The United States in turn produces twice as many oranges as number 3 Mexico, and the other leading producers, India, China, and Spain.
Valencia And Navel Oranges - There are several popular varieties of oranges. The Valencia orange is the one most commonly used for the commercial production of oranges, while the Navel orange is the one most often purchased in the grocery stores and supermarkets. The Navel orange is so named because of a protrusion which resembles a belly button. The Navel orange is popular due not only to its flavor but also due to the fact it is relatively easy to peel. When you purchase a Navel orange, you often get two oranges for the price of one. The Navel orange is actually a mutant, and features a second fruit inside the peel along with the primary fruit. This second fruit is much smaller, but still quite noticeable.
Mandarins - Many look forward to the winter holidays, and the appearance of the Mandarin oranges. These are small oranges, more oblate in shape than spherical, very sweet, and very easy to peel. These are the oranges traditionally found in Christmas stockings. They are truly a holiday treat. There are several varieties of Mandarin oranges, including the Satsuma, the Clementine, and the Tangerine.
Not Just For Eating - There are a number of interesting facts about oranges which don't necessarily deal with the sweet flesh or juice. Orange peels, when pressed, yield sweet orange oil, used as a food flavoring and also, due to its fragrance, in perfumes. It is also used in household chemicals, as is the lemon, as an effective and pleasant smelling cleansing agent. Sweet orange oil can be very effective as a grease remover. Orange blossoms are well known, not only in music, The Orange Blossom Special, and as the state flower of Florida, but also as having many uses in cuisine and as tea.
Frost Protection - Though not difficult to grow, orange trees are subtropical trees, and can only be grown outdoors in states like Florida and California. Orange trees can however be grown as house plants, even to the extent of bearing fruit. Orange trees are quite sensitive to frost. In years past, when cold weather threatened an orange grove, oil burning pots, called smudge pots, were lit giving off thick, black smoke designed to protect the trees from the icy cold. Today, two methods of protection are used, which at first glance would seem to be more harmful than helpful. One is the use of fans, mounted above tree top height, and the other is to spray the trees with water. Since colder air hugs the ground, the fans serve to force warmer air, found a few feet higher, towards the ground, providing a warming effect on the trees. Water sprayed on the trees will form a thin sheet of ice, which actually insulates the leaves and fruit from the effects of the cold temperature.
Nutrition - Getting back to the orange itself. Commercials often extol the benefits of drinking a glass of orange juice daily. Of all the facts about oranges you may hear or read about, this one is most definitely true. The orange is one of the healthier foods one can eat. A single orange furnishes the recommended daily requirement for vitamin C, and contains a host of other valuable nutrients, including fiber.