Did you know about Oranges that aren’t? We all have an idea of how an orange should look. We go to the produce section of the grocery store and we have a pretty good chance of getting an orange. Other than carrots they are the only thing for sale there that are… well, orange.
Did you know about the following?
The natural color of an orange depends on where it is grown. In countries where the temperature is consistently warm, chlorophyll is preserved and the skin of the orange remains green, while the inside is orange.
Most green oranges are perfectly ripe. In sub-tropical countries that have both warm and cold seasons, the fruit turns orange and the chlorophyll dies off when the temperature cools down.
If you’re like most people, you associate a green fruit with being unripe. However, when it comes to oranges, you cannot tell the ripeness of an orange by its color, regardless of where it’s from.
In South American countries and tropical countries near the equator, oranges stay green all year around. In the United States, oranges grown in early spring or ones that are grown in late fall turn orange naturally. Oranges that only see the height of summer will usually remain green.
There’s not much that’s orangey about the Osage Orange, save for a slightly similar fragrance when the fruit is ripe – and let the aroma be a warning for you. Ripe Osage Orange fruit are sensitive to the touch, exuding a milky, sticky liquid that is as unappealing as their creepy, brain-like appearance. The Osage Orange is also known as the Hedgeapple or “Horse Apple” though even horses avoid it unless there’s nothing else edible in the vicinity. Even then, eating one is a dicey proposition as the starchy inner pulp is slightly toxic to mammals.
This weird-looking, grapefruit sized fruit would seem to be of no use to anyone… anyone living, that is. Some researchers have speculated that Osage Oranges evolved to appeal to certain now-extinct creatures such as mastodons and giant ground sloths. The hole in this theory is that these prehistoric megafauna died out around 13,000 years ago but the ugly Osage Orange is still with us today. You can find them growing wild in some parts of Arkansas and Texas.
Native to China, this deep yellow citrus fruit was first brought to the United States in 1908 by Frank Nicholas Meyer of the Department of Agriculture. We’re not sure if Meyer (who died on an exploratory mission near Shanghai in 1918) pulled any strings to get the fruit named after him, but neither he nor his masters at the DOA are talking – too puckered up, perhaps. With that said, the Meyer Lemon is said to be sweeter, less acidic and more fragrant than its more common Eureka or Lisbon lemon cousins. Meyer Lemons are thought to be hybrids between true lemons and mandarin oranges.
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180 South “E” Street
Porterville, CA 93257