Table of content A-Z


sweet orange


Botanical name: Citrus sinensis



Its botanical name, Citrus sinensis (sinensis = Latin for Chinese), points to the origin of the orange: north-western China and north-eastern India, where the orange has been known for about 3000 years. Columbus is said to have brought the orange tree to the Mediterranean area in the 15th century.


The most important citrus fruit is cultivated today in tropical and sub-tropical regions. The greater part of the world's harvest stems from South America, with approximately 25% coming from North and Central America and only about 8% from Europe.


Oranges were long considered to be exotic, but they are now among the fruits most widely sold.



Oranges can be bought all year round. The supply is greatest from October to April.


Appearance, taste, characteristics

Oranges are round or oval in shape and have an orange-to-red peel. Beneath the peel is a furry white layer called pith, which should be removed prior to eating. The pulp is divided into segments. Depending on the variety, oranges contain white seeds called pips. The pulp itself is orange, yellow, or red; it is juicy and tastes sweet-sour.


There are approximately 400 varieties of oranges. A classification into the following four groups is useful:


1) Navel oranges
Thanks to a special cultivation process, navels are seedless. They are among the best eating oranges, are large, and have a deep-orange, easily peeled skin and tender, juicy, sweetly aromatic pulp. A typical characteristic of navel oranges is a small second or extra fruit between the segments at the so-called navel, i.e. where the blossom was earlier. The main growing areas for navel oranges are Spain, Morocco, Turkey and South Africa.


2) Common oranges
This group comprises a large number of varieties of varying quality, most of them used to make juice.


3) Blood oranges
These oranges frequently have a red skin and completely or partially deep-red pulp. The degree of red colouring depends on the time of harvest, in addition to the climatic conditions: The cooler the nights or the later the harvest, the more marked is the red pigmentation. Blood oranges usually have a stronger and more acidic flavour.


4) Acidless or sweet oranges
These oranges are of practically no importance in Germany. They have very little acid and taste sweet, without the characteristic orange aroma. In the countries where they are grown, however, (e.g. Egypt, Turkey) they are quite popular.



Above all, oranges are rich in vitamin C. A large portion of the minimum daily requirement is supplied by one large fruit. The sweet-sour taste is due to their content of sugar, fruit acid, and various aromatic substances. In addition, oranges contain flavonoids, one of the secondary plant substances.


100 g contain:



Orange, fresh

Orange juice

Energy (kcal)



Water (g)



Protein (g)



Fat (g)



Carbohydrates (g)



Fibre (g)



Vitamin C (mg)



Vitamin A (RE) (µg)



Folic acid (µg)



Potassium (mg)



Sodium (mg)



Calcium (mg)



Magnesium (mg)



Iron (mg)



Note: As this is a natural product, and as the information is taken from various sources and therefore from different analyses, there may be fluctuations in the nutritional facts. The minerals in particular may fluctuate, since the plant takes these from the soil, the composition of which itself can vary. Its mineral content is influenced, for instance, by fertilization. The footnotes are explained here .



To prevent citrus fruits from getting mouldy during transport and storage, the skin of conventionally grown fruits is frequently treated with preservatives. The peel of fruits treated in this way should not be eaten. Wash citrus fruits thoroughly, not only because of the preservatives, but also because of substances that may have been used to fight diseases and insects. After peeling the fruit, it is best to wash your hands thoroughly before eating it.


Quality criteria, optimal storage conditions

Only ripe fruits should be harvested in the countries where they are grown, as oranges do not ripen further after they are picked. The outer colour of the orange is not indicative of the inner quality. Be sure to buy undamaged fruits. Oranges should be firm and relatively heavy for their size.


To make oranges keep longer, they are often treated with chemical agents. If you intend to use the orange peel, ask for fruit that has not been sprayed.


You can keep oranges for a week at room temperature, for 2-3 weeks in the refrigerator.


Form of consumption, use, processing, practical tips for preparation

At home, oranges are mainly eaten fresh. Those who want to make freshly pressed orange juice are advised to buy special "juice oranges", which are easier to press and yield more juice than the typical eating oranges.


Oranges are good in fruit salads, desserts or cakes. The orange also goes well with hearty dishes, e.g. added to poultry salads or as a decoration for cold platters. It is also popular added to sauces, e.g. duck á l'orange, and in salad dressings. Orange marmalade and jelly are popular as well.


The food industry processes oranges as juice; orange juice is one of the most popular juices all over the world. Essential orange oil is used not only in the soft-drink and confectionery industries but also in perfumes. Grated orange peel is used as an ingredient in baking.



In the past several years the number of oranges imported has been declining in favour of mandarin oranges or tangerines and clementines.





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