Information about Fruits: Oranges

About oranges, source of Vitamin C, information about the fruit, production, history and varieties in the world.


Leading orange-producing countries are the U.S., Israel, Morocco, Spain, South Africa, Italy, Japan, India, Mexico, Brazil, and Argentina. Oranges are rich in vitamin C and provide some vitamin A. Oranges should be picked when ripe because they do not ripen or improve in quality after being picked. Unfortunately, oranges are often subjected to serious adulteration in their commercial production.

A relatively extreme example of the adulteration of oranges is described by citrus grower L. P. DeWolf in Consumer Beware by Beatrice Trum Hunter: "Commercial oranges are picked green. No color can be added to the green-skinned orange. First it has to be 'degreened.' This is done in what is known as the 'coloring room,' where it is shut up airtight and doused with a gas (which can cause asphyxiation). This gas destroys or removes the chlorophyll from the rind and leaves it, according to the degree of greenness, all the way from a sickly lemon color to almost white. I have seen them come out of the coloring room looking almost like peeled potatoes. While it is being gassed, the fruit is subject to artificial heat and is sometimes held in this room for 3 or 4 days. It impairs the flavor and has a tendency to hasten its deterioration and decay. After coming out of the coloring room, the fruit is washed and run through the 'color-added' machine. The color is added by passing the fruit through a vat of hot dye or else spraying it on hot while the fruit is subjected to steam heat."

Unripe oranges are not only bad-tasting but may cause serious gastric distress and digestive problems. Certain varieties of oranges, because of the climate in which they are grown, are ripe when they are green, so do not be afraid to buy a green orange, in lieu of a shiny, dyed one. Buy oranges that are firm and heavy for their size--these are the most juicy. Artificial orange drinks do not contain the nutrition found in fresh orange juice. Oranges should not be eaten by people with stomach ulcers, and because of the citric acid content, they are hard on the teeth.

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