Citrus can add such wonderful flavor to desserts, and savory dishes alike. Living in Florida most my life I am fond to the Orange in particular. Oranges have a long history, and have been a sought after fruit the world over for many centuries.
They are assumed to have originated somewhere in Southern China, or Southeast Asia, and were first cultivated by the Chinese around 2500 BC. They later found popularity in Europe through introduction and exploration with Asian cultures. Throughout Europe they were considered a luxury, and even praised for their medical value.
They eventually found their way to North and South America through Spanish expeditions to the new world.
Where do they come from nowadays?
Most of the oranges we see in the produce section of grocery stores come from either California, or Florida. Worldwide Brazil is also a very large exporter of the fruit.
When I say ‘orange’ it’s rather broad. There are many different types grown throughout the world. Several popular types include.
Valencia – California grown. Primarily for processing and orange juice production.
Hamlin – The most widely grown early sweet orange in Florida, and the tree among the most cold tolerant.
Navel – Visually the oranges appear to have a knub at the apex. They are very popular, and consumed the world over.
Blood oranges – Grown primarily in Spain and Italy. A higher than normal concentrations of anthocyanin gives the fruit a dark red color.
Oranges in Cooking
More traditionally oranges are eaten raw, or as part of a dessert.
They are also commonly used in more savory dishes to spruce up the flavor. One of my favorite uses is in rice. Add to a pilaf with oranges, carrots, and pistachios for a unique texture.
Oranges are often used in jarring to make marmalade, jams, and other products.
Non Cooking Uses
Oranges are very popular in cleaning products. The citric acid , and scent is used in a number of different natural cleaning brands.
Another non traditional use of Oranges peels as a slug repellent in gardens.