Prior to the presence of the first orange in the United States more than 125 year ago, the orange tree was cultivated in North Africa, Spain and Italy. Today, Brazil is the largest producer of oranges. The name "orange" was inducted into the English language around A.D. 1300. Christopher Columbus brought the orange to the Caribbean islands, while Ponce de Leon introduced oranges to North America.
Producer of Oranges
Florida and California are the leading producers of oranges in the United States. Together, their gross production is estimated at 25 billion pounds of oranges every year. The Valencia Orange was created by agronomist William Wolfskill, who created the fruit on his farm in Santa Ana, California. The Irvine Company later became the biggest producer of these oranges in Southern California. The orange industry boomed in Southern California, which led to the creation of the Orange County community. In the 1990s, property values in Orange County skyrocketed, which made the land used for orange groves too expensive. Therefore, land in Florida was used for Valencia orange production.
Differences in Florida and California Oranges
Florida oranges tend to be greener than California oranges, because the night temperature in Florida is warmer. These warmer temperatures cause the chlorophyll to migrate to the peel. However, the tastes and textures are not much different from one another.
Oranges generally fall into two categories: sweet and bitter. The sweet varieties are generally more popular in Western countries. These varieties include Navel, Valencia, Moro, Cara Cara, Red Navel, Hamlin and Temple, to name a few. Bitter oranges include Seville, Daidai and Chinotto.
Oranges contain more fiber than almost any other fruit. There are 45 calories in a small orange and 86 calories in a large one. They are low in saturated fat, sodium and cholesterol. Oranges are a great source of potassium, folate, thiamine and vitamin C. Their only downside is that most of the calories from an orange is in sugar; however, they still are a high-energy source of nutrition.