ORANGE,TANGERINE and MANDARIN are common names for citrus fruit of several trees. Different varieties include the sweet orange, the sour orange, and the mandarin orange, or tangerine.
The Navel Orange, so named for their “belly button” at the blossom end, were discovered in the 1820’s as an unusual growth on a Salata tree in Salvador, Brazil, but are believed to have originated in China. It’s a large seedless fruit, that’s juicy and sweet with thick skins that make it easy to peel and section for eating. The Cara Cara resembles a regular Navel, but the inside is a gorgeous deep salmon color. The taste is sweet and juicy. This unique variety originated at the Hacienda Cara Cara in Venezuela in the early 1970s, and are a new addition to the California, San Joaquin Valley.
Valencia, first named Excelsior, is considered the worlds most important orange. Believed to be of Spanish origin, the variety actually became of interest in the Azores and is almost certainly of old Portuguese origin. The rind is thin and leathery, the interior bright orange, with a high juice content and sweet flavor. Valencias typically have 2-4 seeds per fruit.
Tangerine is the common name for a variety of Mandarin orange. The mandarin orange is native to southeastern Asia and has been widely cultivated in orange-growing regions of the world. The tangerine resembles the orange but is smaller and oblate in shape and has a more pungent odor, a thinner rind, and sections that may be readily separated. It has a food value comparable to that of the orange, but the fruit is more delicate and subject to damage in handling.
The Satsuma Mandarin is believed to have originated in Japan probably in the mid-sixth century A.D. It acquired its name in 1878 by the wife of Gen. Van Valkenberg, the U.S. Minister to Japan. Satsuma’s have a mild sweet flavor, full of juice, virtually no seeds, pebbly in texture and the interior is a bright orange. This fruit peels and segments easily.
The fruit of all these varieties is technically a hesperidium, a kind of berry. It consists of several easily separated carpels, or sections, each containing several seeds and many juice cells, covered by a leathery exocarp, or skin, containing numerous oil glands. Orange trees are evergreens, seldom exceeding 9 m (30 ft) in height. The leaves are oval and glossy and the flowers are white and fragrant. Three essential oils are obtained from oranges: oil of orange, obtained from the rind of the fruit and used principally as a flavoring agent; oil of petigrain, obtained from the leaves and twigs and used in perfumery; and oil of neroli, obtained from the blossoms and used in flavorings and perfumes.
In the United States the principal orange-producing states are Florida, California, Texas, and Arizona. From 1991 to 1992 the yield of oranges in the United States was about 10 million metric tons. The principal crops of the western growers consist of the Valencia and the Bahia, or Washington navel orange, imported from Bahia, Brazil, in 1870, and developed in Washington, D.C., by the U.S. Department of Agriculture. The navel orange is a seedless orange, with medium-thick rind, in which a second small, or abortive, orange grows. A variety of the Washington navel orange is the principal orange product of Texas.
The sour orange is cultivated to a limited extent for marmalade and to provide rootstock for less vigorous strains. About 20 percent of the total crop of oranges is sold as whole fruit; the remainder is used in preparing frozen and canned orange juice, extracts, and preserves.
Basic Nutritional Facts:
- Low fat
- Saturated fat-free
- A good source of vitamin C
Oranges belong to the genus Citrus, of the family Rutaceae. The sweet orange is classified as Citrus sinensis; the sour, or Seville, orange as Citrus aurantium; and the mandarin orange, or tangerine, as Citrus reticulata.