10 Things You Didn't Know About Oranges
As the world's most popular citrus fruit, it should come as no surprise to anyone that the tens of millions of tons of tons of oranges are sold commercially each year. That's why you can find them in nearly any grocery store on Earth at nearly any time of year. But just because we eat and enjoy them doesn't mean we know very much about oranges. Here are a few things that might surprise you about your favorite fruit.
An ancient fruit that originated in Southeast Asia, the orange is at least 4,500 years old, and probably a lot older! As such, it is one of the oldest types of citrus and has many direct descendents.
The orange is not a pure breed, but is rather a hybrid, which means it is a cross between two different types of fruit. In this case, the orange is the offspring of the pomelo and the mandarin.
Where it's grown
About one-third of the world's oranges are harvested in Brazil, which is easily the world leader in total production. The United States is number two, but only because Florida grows more than two-thirds of America's oranges.
How It's Sold
Depending on where it's grown, oranges are either almost always sold for juice or almost always sold fresh. In Florida, for example, more than 90 percent of all oranges are sent to processing plants for juices, whereas those that are grown in California are generally sold fresh.
It's Shelf Life
Compared to other fresh fruit, oranges do not spoil easily and can be enjoyed several weeks after they're picked. On average, a fresh orange is eatable for three weeks, which is about two weeks longer than a fresh banana.
How Many Varieties There Are
Even if you're not a fruit or orange lover, you've probably heard of popular varieties like Navels, Valencias, and Hamlins. But did you know that there are over 600 varieties of oranges worldwide? Because most of these oranges are grown and sold locally, they will never show up at your local supermarket.
When They Came to America
Because citrus fruit is not native to the Americas, all of it had to be brought here by adventurers and explorers. When it comes to the orange, most historians believe Christopher Columbus brought orange seeds across the Atlantic on his second voyage in 1493. However, it was another explorer, Ponce de Leon, who actually planted orange trees in Florida in the early 1500s.
Number of Segments
There are ten segments or carpals in the average orange.
Oranges grow best in subtropical climates that get a lot of sunshine and rainfall.
It's Entirely Edible
Although the rind or peel is generally discarded, it is eatable and is actually quite good for you!