Home > Fruits > Sweet orange
Scientific Name: Citrus sinensis
Sweet orange is the fruit of the citrus species Citrus sinensis in the family Rutaceae. Probably originating in Southeast Asia, oranges were already cultivated in China as far back as 2500 BC. Arabo-phone peoples popularized sour citrus and oranges in Europe; Spaniards introduced the sweet orange to the American continent in the mid-1500s. Orange trees are widely grown in tropical and subtropical climates for their sweet fruit. Oranges, whose flavour may vary from sweet to sour, are commonly peeled and eaten fresh or squeezed for juice. The thick bitter rind is usually discarded, but can be processed into animal feed by desiccation, using pressure and heat. It also is used in certain recipes as a food flavouring or garnish. The outermost layer of the rind can be thinly grated with a zester to produce orange zest. Zest is popular in cooking because it contains the oil glands and has a strong flavour similar to that of the orange pulp. The white part of the rind, including the pith, is a source of pectin and has nearly the same amount of vitamin C as the flesh and other nutrients. Although not so juicy or tasty as the flesh, orange peel is edible and has higher contents of vitamin C and more fibre. It also contains citral, an aldehyde that antagonizes the action of vitamin A. Since large concentrations of pesticides have been found in orange peels, some organizations recommend consumption of the peel of only organically grown and processed oranges, where chemical pesticides or herbicides would not have been used.