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Oranges belong to the category of citrus fruits and are of the Citrus sinensis family. The citrus trees are of the same genus, Citrus, and remain largely interbreedable, that is to say that there is only one super species. Some citrus fruits include oranges, grapefruit, lemons, limes, etc. The fruits belonging to the citrus family are considered berries, as they are fleshy, soft, have seeds, and are derived from a single ovary.

Oranges are believed to be hybrids between the pomelo (Citrus maxima) and tangerine (Citrus reticulata) and are considered to be a hesperidium kind of a berry. The orange tree is a small flowering tree, which grows to a height of about 10 m. It has evergreen leaves, which grow to a length of about 4-10cm long. The seed inside an orange is referred to as the pip, whereas the thread like structures attached to the peel and the flesh are termed as the pith.
The Orange fruit traces its origin to South-east Asia. The word orange, is an adaptation of the Sanskrit word narangah. The oranges, which were brought to Europe from India or China were of Citrus aurantium variety, the bitter orange. It is also referred to as the Chinese Apple or Applesin by many people. It is believed that the Duch, Portuguese, Spanish and Arab sailors planted citrus trees along their trading routes to prevent scurvey.

Production of Oranges

Oranges are grown in groves, and are grown extensively throughout the world. Brazil, USA and Mexico are amongst the top orange producing countries of the world. As the orange trees are sensitive to frost, care should be taken to prevent frost formation on the leaves, bark and branches. So, when sub-freezing temperatures are expected, the best part is to spray the tree with water, to protect it from temperatures that have dropped below the freezing point.
Nutritional Profile

Oranges are rich in Vitamin C and are also a good source of dietary fiber. They are also good sources of other vitamins including vitamin B1 and Folate, as well as Vitamin A, Thiamine, Vitamin B6, Calcium and Potassium.

Nutritive Values per 100 gms.

  • Vitamin A: 190 I.U.
  • Vitamin B: Thiamine .08 mg.
  • Vitamin C: 49 mg.
  • Calcium: 33 mg.
  • Phosphorus: 23 mg.
  • Potassium: 300 mg.

Varieties of Oranges

  • Bahianinha: It is a variety of the Washington Navel and is exported mainly from Brazil. It is small in size and has a thin rind, which is dimpled and easy to peel. The pulp of the fruit is crisp, sweet, and is generally without seeds. This variety of oranges forms 30% of Brazil's citrus crop and is grown mainly in Sao Paulo
  • Berna: This variety is grown mainly in Spain, the place where it originated. These oranges are moderately sweet and are ideal for cooking as they have almost no seeds. They are medium in size, having ten to twelve segments. The rind of the fruit is yellow-orange and the pulp is golden in colour, and has a pear like taste.
  • Blood (Maltese): Rich in colour, these oranges are small sized and are ideal for making sorbets and desserts. Their taste is an exquisite blend of oranges, raspberries, and concord grapes. The pulp colour ranges from red to reddish purple, and its rind from an orange to an orange deeply suffused with red. They are believed to have originated in Italy, and is now extensively grown in Spain and Malta
  • Persian Orange: They are a variety of bitter-sweet oranges, which are widely grown in southern Europe. They were brought to Europe by the Portuguese in the 15 th century from India. Now sweet, these oranges grow in different shapes and sizes, depending upon the growing conditions. There are usually upto 10 segments inside each orange
  • Naval Orange: In an orchid in Brazil, a single mutation gave rise to the yield of the navel oranges. They are also known as the Washington, Riverside, or Bahie navel. The mutation causes the orange to produce a second orange at its base, much like a conjoined twin. This formation looks like that of the human navel, and thus the name. As they have no seeds, therefore the process of cutting and grafting is the only way to produce them
  • Valencia Orange: It is a variety of sweet oranges, which is used for juice extraction. It is a fruit, which grows late and enjoys a large demand, when the navel oranges are out of season. This orange was chosen the official mascot of the FIFA World Cup, which was held in Spain in 1982.

Uses of Orange
Oranges can be put to multiple uses, be it for food or for cosmetic purposes. Oranges are relished all in themselves and are also used in many recipes to add to them a zingy taste. Orange juice is an indispensable part of a healthy breakfast, and gives you the desired energy to carry out your tasks throughout the day. Orange oil is a widely used aroma therapy oil, which aids in relaxing the senses. The bees bred in an orange grove produce an orange flavoured honey, which is extremely good to taste. Almost all the parts except the pip and the pith are used to make marmalade.

Orange peels are used by gardeners as skull repellents. The powder made with the orange peels is an excellent face mask ingredient, and if used regularly, adds a glow to the face. Orange juice added in the face packs give a new life to the skin by removing the dead cells.

Health Benefits Associated With Oranges
  • Oranges are rich in a compound called Betacarotene, which is a powerful antioxidant that protects our cells from getting damaged
  • A rich source of calcium, regular consumption of oranges helps build and maintain strong bones and teeth
  • The fruit is also rich in Folic Acid, which is ideal for proper brain development
  • Research has shown that inclusion of oranges in our daily diet aids in keeping blood pressure under check because of the ample amount of magnesium content in them
  • Oranges contain a healthy dose of Vitamin C, which helps in antioxidant protection and also gives a boost to ones immune system, making it more strong and resistant to diseases
  • The potassium present in the fruit facilitates the maintenance of the electrolyte balance in the cells of the body and also helps in maintaining a healthy cardiovascular system
  • Potassium helps maintain electrolyte balance in the cells, and is important in maintaining a healthy cardiovascular system
  • Vitamin B6 helps support the production of hemoglobin that carries oxygen to all parts of the body, and is present in ample amounts in oranges
  • Oranges have also proven to prevent Kidney Stones
  • Eating oranges helps in preventing ulcers and reduces the risk of stomach cancer
  • People addicted to alcohol have found that their desire for liquor greatly reduces by drinking orange juice
  • Consumption of large quantities of oranges decreases the mucus secretion from the nose.