A Brief History of Florida Oranges
While Florida oranges are a staple across the United States of America, and in reality, around the globe, the vast majority of American's do not know the story of how this delicious and nutrient rich super-food originally made its way into the state. As the story goes, Spanish explorer Ponce de Leon and his crew actually brought the first oranges to the Sunshine State in approximately 1513. And while they are not technically native to the area, Florida oranges have been making a big name for themselves ever since. In fact, in just under five short centuries, Florida has evolved from an orange-free zone to the second largest orange producing state in the world. Indeed, millions of people enjoy Florida oranges on a daily basis, and the economic benefit to the state of Florida tops $8 billion annually.
So, how are Florida oranges different than those grown in other areas? For one thing, they are heavier (by volume) than oranges grown elsewhere. This is because the Sunshine State's oranges have a particularly high concentration of juice and a virtually paper thin peel – as opposed to oranges from other areas which are saddled with notoriously thick peels, meaning that you pay more for less edible fruit.
Florida oranges must be harvested at the peak of ripeness, as they will not continue to ripen after removed from the tree. A curious fact about Florida oranges is that those which develop and ripen on the south facing side of the tree taste markedly sweeter than those grown on the north facing side. Incidentally, the much less flavorful “northern oranges” are sodium free, which means that they are the perfect food to incorporate into a low sodium or otherwise restricted diet.
Florida oranges are some of the most nutrient rich food in the world, containing vital vitamins and minerals such as calcium, potassium, magnesium and B6, not to mention copious amounts of the vitamin they are most famous for: vitamin C. Additionally, your average Florida orange contains only roughly 70 calories and zero fat or sodium – they also contain high levels of antioxidants (in the form of vitamin C) which are proven to help your body fight free radicals which are known to accelerate the aging process, and which also boost your immunity – this is why all oranges are recommended to help ward off and/or shorten the duration of many common ailments, such as the common cold.