Fruit – Vegetable – Tropical Fruits
Oranges originally come from Southern China and Southeast Asia. In the second half of the 15th Century they arrived to Europe. In 1493, Christopher Columbus took orange seeds from of Canary Islands on his second journey to Haiti. From there the plants spread all over the Caribbean and in 1518 they were cultivated for the first time in Mexico and as soon as 1565 in Florida. In Spain the commercial cultivation of oranges began in 1792 and 1870 in Italy.
In its natural environment it belongs — like the lemon bush — to the most beautiful fruit trees. They are 4 to 8 m high with intensely dark-green foliage and and white blooms whose intensive flavour reminds us of the ripe fruit.
Oranges are the most important and commonly produced citrus fruits worldwide; orchards are found everywhere in the Tropics and Subtropics. Out of about 1000 varieties, the common roundish oranges, navel oranges, blood oranges and the sugar oranges are cultivated. In the Citrus countries of the northern hemisphere, the trees flower in spring, mature during the winter and come to the markets as winter oranges. To the south of the equator it is conversely: Brazil, Australia and South Africa provide us with summer oranges.
Oranges are available all year round: Winter oranges come from the Mediterranean from November until June, summer oranges come from South Africa, Brazil and Argentina from June until November. The season is only limited for blood oranges as the varieties are not cultivated in the tropical overseas countries.
They may be eaten raw or used for sweet dishes or boiled down for marmalade. The juice may be squeezed for beverages and sauces while peel may be scraped for flavouring.
They can be stored for approximately 6 days at room temperature. Like all other citrus fruits, oranges will not continue to ripen after the harvest.