Today we’re zeroing in on the Navel Orange, which is a sweet orange I’m sure you’re familiar with; in fact, you may have some in your refrigerator.
The Navel Oranges are less juicy than the common orange. These are always recognizable by the small second fruit that grows at the end of the fruit. Many feel this type of orange resembles a human navel, aka belly button, thus lending to its name.
These oranges are actually produced through cutting and grafting but they are the predominant source for orange juice. And, as we’ve mentioned before, these oranges contain a great deal of Vitamin C; in fact, one orange has nearly 2/3’s of your recommended daily Vitamin C intake.
Did you realize that navel oranges are seedless? Next time you enjoy one, check for seeds, and I’m sure you won’t find any. In the United States, navel oranges are available from November to April but peak supplies are during the first three months of each year.
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HISTORY OF THE NAVEL ORANGE
The history of the navel orange is fascinating. Tradition says that an orange tree planted in a Brazil monastery yielded the first navel orange somewhere between 1810 and 1820. They were then introduced in Australia in 1824 and in Florida in 1835. It wasn’t until 1870 that they transplanted cuttings of the original tree to the West coast in Riverside, California. The fruit from those trees they called the “Washington” navel but later rivaled the alternate name of “Riverside Orange”, and through further cutting and grafting the propagation continued.
The navel orange is unique in that it appears to have a partly formed undeveloped fruit some say is like a conjoined twin at the blossom end of the fruit. This “twin” resembles the human body’s navel as we’ve mentioned, and the name “navel orange” became the referenced orange type.
Orange farmers today take cuttings from their navel orange trees and graft them into fresh stock now and then which ensures that their orchards stay healthy and helps with expansion.
All oranges, including navel oranges, contain carotene. Carotene is what makes them orange in color. The navel orange, like it’s ‘cousins’ are a powerful antioxidant which helps reduce or neutralize free radicals in our bodies. Overall nutrition of navel oranges give it thumbs up on high Vitamin C, some A and B6 as well as calcium and fiber. There is even 1 gram of protein in a navel orange. You’ll also find niacin, folate, magnesium, iodine, selenium, and manganese in each navel orange.
The health benefits of oranges cannot be overstated, and hopefully you can include them in your daily diet if you haven’t already. I know there are some who can only have a small amount of orange juice due to diabetes, so again, follow the orders of your doctor when it comes to oranges.
You might be surprised at how many products they can make from oranges. They can make orange blossom petals into a citrus-scented version of “rose-water” but known as “orange blossom or orange flower water”. In the United States, orange flower water is used in making orange blossom scones and marshmallows. Orange leaves are also boiled to make a tea; and orange blossom honey is derived from beehives in citrus groves. Orange blossoms are often used in bridal bouquets and head wreaths because it is traditionally associated with good fortune. Is it any surprise that the orange blossom is the state flower of Florida?
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