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Folklore and facts about citrus fruit

  • In Greek mythology, Jupiter's wedding gift to Juno was an orange.
  • Oranges were first enjoyed in the royal courts of ancient China, India and the Middle East.
  • The two most common varieties of oranges are Valencia and Navel. Valencias are excellent juice oranges.
  • The first sweet orange was cultivated near the city of Valencia, Spain. Christopher Columbus brought the Valencia orange to the New World in the 15th century and Spanish explorers planted the first trees near St. Augustine, Florida in the mid-1500s.
  • Navel orange trees were brought to California from Brazil in 1873. The navel orange got its name from its shape. The bottom of the fruit looks like a navel.
  • Florida's sunshine and rain create oranges with thin skins and extra juice. The extra juice makes the oranges about 25% heavier than thicker-skinned oranges.
  • The skin of Florida oranges is usually yellow, not the bright orange most people expect. Bright orange skin requires cool night temperatures, not, the warm tropical nights common to Florida. Skin color does not affect the ripeness of the fruit.
  • Grapefruit is native to the Caribbean and South America, and was first planted near Tampa, Florida in 1823 by the French Count, Odet Philippe.
  • The tangerine is native to Tangiers in Northern Africa. Tangelo fruit is a hybrid cross of tangerines and grapefruit. Its juice is often blended with the orange to make a fresh-tasting juice.
  • Oranges are the most popular citrus fruit. Of all the citrus grown in the United States, 60% are oranges; 19%, grapefruit; 12%, lemons and 9%, tangerines.
  • Florida produces more grapefruit than anywhere else in the world, and is second in orange production, after Brazil. In the U.S., oranges are also grown in California, Arizona and Texas.
  • Citrus fruit is almost always picked by hand. Farm workers can pick more than 7,000 pounds of fruit in a day.
  • 1/3 of all commercially grown Florida oranges becomes juice.
  • One eight-ounce glass of Florida orange juice supplies 100 percent of the daily vitamin C your body needs. Vitamin C is not retained in the body and must be replenished every day.
  • One orange has about 70 calories, no sodium, no cholesterol, and no fat.
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