Who could resist a tasty orange? Would you like a valencia? What about a clementine? Or maybe a Cara Cara? Oranges come in so many varieties, shapes and colours, which makes this citrus group one of the more interesting ones to learn about. But besides being a tasty and pulpy fruit, oranges have many fascinating facts that are worth knowing about! Read on to learn 50 juicy facts about oranges.
Fact 1: Oranges are citrus fruits.
- They have a scientific name, ‘Citrus X sinensis’, or better known as the ‘Citrus aurantium’.
Fact 2: Oranges are the King of citrus fruits in the world!
- Oranges comprise about 60% of the total citrus production in the world. They are followed by mandarins, lemons, and grapefruits.
Fact 3: Oranges can have a pH of 3.3 to 4.2.
- They are considered to be moderately acidic like apples and grapes. But among other citrus fruits, lemons are considered to be extremely acidic with an approximate pH value of 2.0.
Fact 4: There are over 600 varieties of oranges worldwide, but they are categorized into 2 basic types.
- Oranges are categorized according to their taste: sweet orange (Citrus sinensis) and bitter orange (Citrus aurantium).
Fact 5: The sweet oranges have 4 different categories.
- You have common orange, blood or pigmented orange, navel orange, and acid-less orange. Some of these oranges are commercially grown and marketed worldwide. Each have distinct characteristics and subvarieties.
Fact 6: The original citrus species, mandarins, are categorized under the ‘sweet orange’ varieties!
- Mandarins (Citrus reticulata) resemble oranges, and they come in small packages! From their shape and taste, it’s hard to distinguish them from oranges. And that’s because the apple – or shall we say, orange – doesn’t fall far from the tree! Among the many cultivars of mandarins, the satsuma, tangerine, and clementine are the popular ones.
Fact 7: Bitter oranges are commonly used to make marmalade.
- Your favourite marmalade is prepared by preserving the juice and peel of citrus fruits and mix them with sugar and water. The commonly used citrus fruits to make these famous concoctions are Seville and Trifoliate oranges. Both of which are considered to be bitter oranges.
Fact 8: Bitter oranges are native to eastern Africa and tropical Asia.
- Now, they are grown throughout the Mediterranean region. You can also find them sprouting in California and Florida.
Fact 9: Bitter oranges have medicinal characteristics and they are still used in traditional Chinese medicine.
- Their health benefits are also exploited in other parts of the world! The Amazonian natives used them to treat indigestion, constipation, and nausea.
Fact 10: Currently, synephrine (bitter orange) is banned by the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA).
- Amidst the many health advantages of bitter oranges, there’s a harmful component that forces the authorities to include them on NCAA’s list of banned drugs. Bitter oranges contain synephrine, which is a dangerous chemical component, similar to the herb ephedra’s ephedrine. Ephedra is banned by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration as it is linked to heart attacks, strokes, and sudden death.
Fact 11: Sour oranges are packed with more acidic juices.
- Ever tasted a sour orange? These oranges are packed with more acidic juices, hence their tangy tastes. Its bitter flavour, on the other hand, is caused by the essential oils present in the fruit.
Fact 12: Brazil is the orange capital of the world!
- Brazil has the largest production of oranges in the world. About one-third of the global orange production can be attributed to Brazil.
Fact 13: 70% of the United States’ orange production comes from Florida.
- All thanks to Florida’s fertile soil and favourable climate conditions, they produce a massive number of oranges annually! The United States ranks second next to Brazil in terms of orange production.
Fact 14: ‘Wild oranges’ are oranges you can find in gardens.
- Surprisingly, they’re not the varieties you’ll likely find in the wild, and they’re certainly not rare! However, their species are still unknown, so they still don’t have a definite identity yet. But these wild oranges usually come as shrubs.
Fact 15: 100 grams of orange contains approximately 53 grams of Vitamin C!
- Vitamin C, or Ascorbic Acid, is very important in boosting our immune systems. It’s no secret that oranges are oozing with Vitamin C, compared to apples that only contain 4.6 milligrams. Indeed, an orange a day can keep the doctor away!
Fact 16: Valencia oranges remain green after ripening.
- Unlike other oranges that turn to bright, or deep orange in colour after ripening, the Valencia variety remains green because they tend to reabsorb chlorophyll in the warm climate. They make look raw, but they taste just as sweet and tasty as the matured ones!
Fact 17: Florida’s state fruit is the orange.
- It’s because of its large orange production that they’ve decided to designate orange as their state fruit. Its juice is their state beverage too, and the orange flower is its state flower. The orange flower is also one of the most fragrant flowers you’ll ever come across in Florida!
Fact 18: Orange is a hybrid fruit!
- It’s one of the most popular and common hybrid fruits in the world. Oranges got their genes from their parents: Pomelo (25%) and Mandarin (75%).
Fact 19: The Jamaicans use orange peels to remove grease and oil spots.
- Everything about an orange is useful! Its peel can be used in making candies and teas. It is also a good natural cleanser.
Fact 20: The orange tree is an evergreen tree.
- The orange tree is a small, tropical or semi-tropical evergreen variant. It has green foliage throughout the year. Who would’ve thought that orange trees are among the likes of conifers?
Fact 21: Oranges are great antioxidants.
- They may be more famous for their vitamin C powers, oranges can also help decrease burns due to oxidation. The known antioxidants in oranges are flavonoids (hesperetin and naringenin predominantly as glycosides), carotenoids (xanthophylls, cryptoxanthins, carotenes), and Vitamin C in addition to other beneficial phytochemicals, such as folate.
Fact 22: Oranges can make you look young!
- Thinking about a good skincare routine? Any orange-infused regimen can help you look youthful for a long time. They are packed with antioxidant properties and are even used in face washes and sunscreen products.
Fact 23: Oranges are more acidic than our blood!
- Our blood pH is tightly regulated between 7.35 and 7.45.
Fact 24: You can slim down with oranges.
- They’re some of the ideal fruits to much on, in case you’re thinking about losing some pounds. Oranges are nutrient-rich fruits and contain a low-fat volume.
Fact 25: Oranges are good partners for your Vitamin D supplements.
- They help absorb the nutrients, thereby limiting the risk of gallstones and kidney stones.
Fact 26: 88% of an orange is made up of Vitamin C.
- The remaining 12% consists of other vitamins and minerals, like Vitamin A, Vitamin B1, Vitamin B6, Vitamin-D, Folate, Potassium, and Vitamin B-12.
Fact 27: The word “orange” was first used for the colour.
- Orange was then the term given to the fruit who shared the same colour. In terms of colour, commercial oranges have a bright orange hue because they are injected with an artificial dye: the Citrus Red Number 2. These dyes are injected into the fruit’s peel at a concentration of 2 parts per million.
Fact 28: Christopher Columbus was the first person to bring oranges to America.
- The fruit originated in Southeast Asia around 4000 B.C. before spreading to India. It reached the western territories through the Italian explorer and navigator, Christopher Columbus. He brought orange seeds and seedlings to the New World (which is now known as America) in 1493.
Fact 29: Orange is a type of berry!
- True berries are defined as simple fruits stemming from one flower, with one ovary, and several seeds. The orange is classified under Hesperidium, to be exact.
Fact 30: Orange plants stand at an average of 9 m (30 ft) in height.
- However, some old trees can reach 15 m (49 ft).
Fact 31: The bitter oranges were first introduced by the Arabians to the Mediterranean region during the 10th century.
- The sweet oranges were presented by Genoese traders in the 15th century.
Fact 32: Over 20% of oranges are sold as whole fruits.
- 80% of the crop is used in preparing orange extracts and preserves for commercial consumption.
Fact 33: Orange trees can grow as high as 30 feet on some occasions.
- And they could live for more than a hundred years!
Fact 34: The Navel oranges are seedless oranges.
- They need to reproduce through budding or grafting to create new trees. Oranges with seeds reproduce through pollination.
Fact 35: A single citrus plant can have 60,000 flowers.
- But only 1% of the flowers will become fruit.
Fact 36: Oranges grown in Florida are greener than oranges from California.
- Florida has a warm climate causing chlorophyll pigments to migrate into the fruit’s peel, making it look greener.
Fact 37: The oranges are a symbol of love.
- They are also associated with joy, sunshine, and determination. But in Heraldics, they represent strength and endurance.
Fact 38: In Greek history, oranges were known as the fruit of the gods.
- The popular story about Hercules’ stolen “golden apple” was actually orange.
Fact 39: British sailors brought back oranges on their ships during the 18th century.
- They hoarded citrus fruit to prevent scurvy, which was a common illness among sailors back then.
Fact 40: Orange is one of the world’s favourite flavours.
- Orange is a very common and adored flavour, and is well-liked alongside chocolate and vanilla.
Fact 41: Oranges contain 2.4 g of fibre.
- A medium-sized orange has a fibre content similar to eating 7 cups of cornflakes.
Fact 42: The fruit was not named for its colour!
- The word orange came from a translation of a Sanskrit term, “naranga”, which comes from the Tamil, “naru”. The word means “fragrant”.
Fact 43: The California citrus industry began with the Washington Navel Orange tree in 1840.
- It’s still standing strong, proud, and fruitful in Riverside, California.
Fact 44: ‘Navel’ oranges got their name from their belly-button formations on the opposite end of their stems.
- That belly-button-shaped formation is the underdeveloped “twin” of the fruit. Since it resembles a human navel from the outside, they are called ‘navel’ oranges.
Fact 45: Oranges were associated with fertility.
- And are also related to weddings, because their evergreen trees can simultaneously produce foliage, fruits, and flowers.
Fact 46: Bergamot oranges have useful oils in the food and cosmetics industry.
- Their oils are great additives for cosmetics and flavouring. Its extract is also used in Earl Grey tea.
Fact 47: The largest orange in the world measured 25 inches in circumference.
- It was grown by Patrick and Joanne Fiedler in Fresno, California, USA. The world record was set on January 22, 2006.
Fact 48: Kumquats are the smallest commercially available oranges.
- They are indigenous to Japan and measure about an inch. When eating kumquats, you need to eat them whole! You don’t have to peel the fruit, unlike normal oranges.
Fact 49: Cara cara is the prettiest of all the orange varieties!
- It was discovered in 1976 in Valenzuela. It is a variant of the navel orange, hence they’re also called “pink navel” or “red navel”, they happen to be sweet!
Fact 50: Clementine oranges are named after a French missionary who discovered the variety in Algeria.
- They are notable for its tiny size, sweet taste, and minimal pith, making them easier to peel.