Oranges! Bright in colour and spattered with a pleasant citrusy scent. No wonder why the round segmented juicy fruit is one of the most popular fruits in the world. The flavour can range from juicy and sweet to bitter depending on the variety, but oranges are generally very popular because of their natural sweetness, the many kinds available, and the numerous applications. Its leathery peel and juicy inner flesh made them possible to be used in many industries, and be processed into an assortment of edible and non-edible products. For example, they are consumed in juices and marmalades, eaten whole or zested peel added to cakes and pastries to lend a tangy flavour. They are also widely utilized in beauty products, essential oils, face masks, and other cosmetics. Oranges are high in fibre, vitamin C, thiamine, folate, and antioxidants; all of which have led to their usage in medicine for their numerous health advantages.
What Are the Different Kinds of Oranges?
The orange is the fruit of various citrus species in the family Rutaceae. There are plenty of orange varieties, but the most common orange refers to the China orange or also called the sweet orange (Citrus sinensis). Common oranges are comprised of an ample variety, and one of them being the Valencia orange. They have thin skins and a lot of juice, so they’re perfect for producing orange juice or just snacking on. Valencia oranges were developed in California in the mid-1800s and are now cultivated in Florida as well.
Another orange citrus group is the less extensively grown sour orange, which is also known as Seville orange (Citrus aurantium). These Mediterranean fruits have a low sugar content and a lot of acidity and bitterness. This makes them the greatest choice for marmalade because they can stand up to and complement the large amount of sugar that is in it. Seville oranges and peels can also be used to season marinades, they are not usually eaten raw because they are so acidic.
Another kind would be the mandarin orange (Citrus reticulata), which some varieties are called tangerines. Mandarins are popular salad topping and snacks because they are tiny and delicious, with easy-to-peel skin. They’re also excellent for baking because they’re almost seedless.
The list of different kinds of oranges extend, supported by the various range of hybrids. Once a natural mutation of common oranges but now are predominantly hybrids, is the Blood orange. The name Blood orange is derived from the deep red colour of its flesh, which is very juicy, sweet, and tangy. Their flavour is distinct, resembling a blend of tangy oranges and plump, ripe raspberries. Moro, Sanguinello, and Tarocco are the three main sorts, which range from sour to sweet. This makes them a fantastic complement to cheese boards, desserts or sauces, as well as a fantastic marmalade base.
A Brief History of Oranges
The orange plant is thought to have originated in Southeast Asia and expanded to other regions of the world over time. Orange is thought to have spread from its native habitat to India and Africa’s east coast, and then to the eastern Mediterranean region. The Roman conquests, the creation of Arab trade routes, and the spread of Islam all contributed to this dispersal.
Today, oranges are grown in tropical and subtropical climates all over the world. The trees may thrive in a variety of soil types, from highly sandy to thick clay loams, though they prefer intermediate soil types. Local growth circumstances, such as climate, soil type, and grove practices, have a big impact on the quality of the fruit and the juice extracted. An orange variety, such as Valencia, may have very diverse qualities depending on where it is farmed around the world.
Products from Oranges
Before 1920, oranges were mostly used as a dessert fruit. Contrary to eating fresh fruit, the expansion of orange juice drinking dramatically increased the consumption of oranges. Every year, almost 70 million tonnes of oranges are produced around the world. Only about a third of the total quantity is processed, with the remainder being consumed fresh.
For a fruit as versatile as the orange, there is a wide range of products that they can be processed into. Almost every part of it—from the peels to the flesh—can be used.
One of them would be the world-famous orange juice. Oranges are squeezed with a juicer or squeezer and collecting the juice in a tray underneath to obtain orange juice. The process of making orange juice can be done at home or on a bigger scale in an industrial setting. The United States is the world’s top producer of orange juice, followed by Brazil. Sweet orange oil is a natural product of the juice industry, and it is made by pressing the peel. The oil can be used for flavouring food and drinks and its fragrance in the perfume industry and aromatherapy. The orange oil also consists of d-limonene, a solvent found in home products such as furniture conditioners, detergents, and hand cleaners.
While the bitter dense rind of an orange is typically discarded, it can be desiccated and turned into animal feed using pressure and heat. It’s also used for its flavour or as a garnish in some dishes. The zest is commonly used in cooking because it contains oils and has a strong taste similar to an orange pulp. To make orange zest, thinly grate the outermost layer of the rind with a zester. Other than that, pectin is also found in the white part of the rind, including the pith, and it contains roughly the same amount of vitamin C as the flesh and other nutrients.
Beyond orange juice, oranges are also commonly made into marmalades, preserves, flavoured soda, and herbal teas. It is also popular to be used in various dishes, as a marinade, dressing, fresh salad, or as desserts such as fruit pie and chocolate Jaffa cakes. However, the list stretches to various inedible products, such as scrubs, face masks, numerous cosmetics, and even the more recent orange peel bioplastic and sustainable fabrics.