The citrus fruit is one of the oldest fruits known in the history of cultivation. As early as 500 B.C. the fruit of the citrus tree was mentioned in a collection of old documents believed to be edited by Confucius himself. In the year A.D. 1178, Han Yen-Chi, a Chinese horticulturist, wrote on the subject of oranges, and the seedless orange was mentioned in these writings. This author speaks of twenty-seven varieties of “very valuable and precious” oranges.
Oranges were originally brought from China to India, and gradually spread over the entire world where the climate was mild enough for their cultivation. The sour orange, or “Naranga,” as it was referred to in Sanskrit about A.D. 100. came into cultivation in the basin of the Mediterranean long before the fall of the Roman Empire. The sweet variety, or “Airavata,” does not appear to have been cultivated until early in the fifteenth century, and then became so popular that it was soon being cultivated extensively throughout Southern Europe. The Moors brought the Seville orange from the East.
Wild oranges were found in the West Indies and Brazil as early as1600. The early Spanish explorers are believed to have brought oranges with them to this country in the time of Ponce de Leon’s quest for the Fountain of Youth. In California, the orange was cultivated at the San Diego Mission in 1769 and, in the year 1804, 400 seedlings grew into a grove of considerable size around the San Gabriel Mission. The popularity of the orange, particularly in the favorable climate of California, grew rapidly, until it soon developed into a leading industry. The orange became known as “California’s liquid sunshine.”
The original orange was very small, bitter, and full of seeds, but through constant efforts in cross-fertilization and selection, many varieties of this delicious fruit are now cultivated with a tremendous improvement in the quality of the fruit. The sweet oranges are, by far, the most popular, while the sour orange is used more for its propagating stock than for its fruit. Unless killed by frost or fire, the orange tree lives to an old age and continues to bear fruit throughout its lifetime.
More than two hundred varieties of oranges are grown in the United States. In 1919 the United States produced only about 25 percent of the world’s total output of oranges, but now it produces about half. Oranges comprise about 60 percent of the citrus fruit grown in the United States.
Oranges are available every day of the year, but are most abundant in the United States from January to May. California, Florida, and Texas are the orange-producing states, and each of these states ships great quantities. California’s vast Valencia orange acreage is now more extensive than the Navel orange plantings. This state now has about 150.000 acres of Valendas, and about 100,000 acres of Navels, with an additional few thousand acres of miscdanmus orange varieties. The largest proportion of the California orange crop-about 85 to 90 percent, comes from southern California.
Choose the first oranges of the season, for they are the richest in mineral values. Tree-ripened oranges have, by far, the greatest mineral content. The best quality orange is firm and heavy, has a fine-textured skin varying in texture according to variety, and is well-colored. The light orange lacks juice. Avoid the soft, flabby, or shriveled orange and those oranges with any soft or moldy areas upon them. Do not eat unripe oranges because they can cause stomach upsets. particularly in small children. Once the skin is cut or broken, the fruit should be eaten immediately as the vitamin C is banned by exposure to the air. If orange juice is kept for a period of time, store in the refrigerator in an airtight container.
The orange is classified as a subtropical fruit and has a citric add content of 1.5 percent. This alkaline-reacting fruit is best eaten with other tropical or subtropical fruits, with add fruits, or with nuts or milk. It is best to avoid eating this fruit with starches or sweets, or with dried fruits.
Use oranges as a dessert fruit, with yogurt, or in combination salads. Make a cup of a segmented orange the thick-skinned seedless orange is best for segmenting-and nil with cottage cheese. Make liquefied drinks, mixing orange juice with other subtropical or tropical fruits such as cactus fruits, loquats, mango, papaya, persimmon, pineapple, pomegranate, apples, and citrus fruits. Many have advised eating oranges or drinking orange juice with meals, early in the morning on an empty stomach, or directly following a meal if the body is in a highly add condition.
The orange is one of the best sources of water-soluble vitamin C. The absence or insufficiency of this causes scurvy. As vitamin C is the least stable of all the vitamins, storage of orange juice at low temperature destroys the vitamin to some extent, and sterilization may destroy it completely. Generally, it is best to use the citric add fruits in sections rather than in juices. When the orange is eaten in sections, the mineral material found in the pulp will help to neutralize the citric add effect as it goes into the body.
Citrus fruits are high in sodium, but only when completely matured in the sunshine. The fruit acids from green or immature fruit cause many adverse body reactions.
If the section and bulk of the orange is fresh and sweet, it is an excellent food for children as a supplement for those who must drink cow’s milk, or any milk, because it seems to help in the retention of calcium in the body. Ripe oranges contain as much as 10 percent fruit sugar, which can be immediately assimilated by the body.
Oranges are the most popular source of Vitamin C. They are excellent for treating over acid body conditions, constipation, or a particularly sluggish intestinal tract. In cases of acidosis, drink orange juice, or eat oranges after meals. If the intestinal tract is not functioning properly, drink a large glass of orange juice upon wakening in the morning, or about one-half hour before breakfast. In the cases of stomach acid deficiency, start the meal with a peeled orange or a glass of orange juice.
Those who suffer from tooth decay or poor gums are probably lacking in vitamin C and should drink large amounts of orange juice for a period of a few weeks. People with gastric and duodenal ulcers are deficient in ascorbic acid, and their diet should be supplemented with a high potency vitamin C such as that found in fresh oranges and orange juice.
Orange are very good for elimination. They stir up the acid accumulations and catarrhal settlements in the body very quickly. However, sometimes this is not a good idea if the channels of elimination, such as skin and kidneys, are not able to take out these acids fast enough.
Eat the whole orange, excluding the very outer skin, to get all the good from the fruit. The luscious orange is rated tops in importance in the contribution to health.
NUTRIENTS IN ONE POUND
Fat: 0.7 g
Carbohydrates: 36.6 g
Calcium: 108 mg
Phosphorus: 75 mg
Iron: 1.3 mg
Vitamin A: 9101 I.U.
Riboflavin: .08 mg
Niacin: .08 mg
Ascorbic acid: 162 mg