What is an orange
The orange is the fruit of the evergreen orange tree or Citrus sinensis, which belongs to the genus of citrus plants and thus to the rhombus family. Originally, orange trees were only native to Southeast Asia and were created through a cross between grapefruit and tangerine. Today orange trees are cultivated throughout the Mediterranean region, especially the juicy varieties from the area around the Spanish cities of Seville and Valencia are famous for their intense aroma.
The medium-sized and not frost-hardy trees, which can reach heights of up to ten meters, thrive best in blazing sun and lime-free soil. The foliage of the orange trees sprouts from thorny branches and consists of thick and leathery, spirally and alternately arranged leaves that are oval in shape and appear pointed upwards. The strongly fragrant white flowers have four or five petals and grow on grape-shaped inflorescences. While the European varieties develop from February to June, the flowers of the orange trees native to China appear from April to May.
In order for the fruits to develop their bright color, the trees need a longer phase of very cold nights. Although they ripen and become edible even without such weather conditions, they remain green and do not develop such an intense aroma. Since the green color is largely regarded as a characteristic of the immaturity of a fruit, green oranges are "de-greened" for the European market by a process licensed in the EU.
The name of the fruit, after which the color orange is named, is derived from a stem that occurs in a slightly modified form in all Romance languages as well as in Arabic. The use of sweet oranges in Europe has been documented since the 15th century. Bitter oranges were brought from China to Spain by seafarers much earlier, from where they gradually spread in the Mediterranean region.
Today, the orange is one of the most popular and most consumed fruits worldwide, is enjoyed primarily in the form of juice, but also as a whole fruit, and is used in many ways in the kitchen. By pressing the orange peel, a fresh, sweet-scented essential oil is obtained, which can be used as an ingredient in bath products and massage oils and has excellent skin-care properties. It allegedly fights cellulite, prevents dry and cracked skin and has a detoxifying and skin tightening effect.
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