A goddess called orange: uses, benefits and history of the orange
Juicy, sweet and with a hint of acidity, orange is something more than a triumph of taste. Let’s discover together the story, the uses and the benefits of this citrus fruit with a millenial story.
What is sweet orange?
Sweet orange (Citrus sinensis) is a fruit tree belonging to the big Citrus genus, a sort of lineage that groups citrus fruits. Not to be confused with bitter orange, sweet orange belongs to the Rutaceae family and is called this way just to distinguish it from the bitter one. Born from the union between pomelo and mandarin, this fruit grows as an autoctone species and is propagated by grafting and cutting. Sweet orange tree immediately evokes the warm climates and the bright colors of Sicily, with its fragrant blossom flowers and its juicy fruits. Trivia fact: not everyone knows that a sweet orange tree can reach up to 12 meters in height.
Where were the first sweet oranges grown?
Sweet orange is of Asian origin, especially from China and Southeast Asia, and it arrived in Europe through the Silk Road (which dated back to the first century AD). Easily established in the warm and welcoming climate of Sicily, its propagation stopped there. It took almost 13 centuries, until the 14th century AD, for the sweet orange to spread to Europe thanks to the Portuguese sailors who discovered it and spread it everywhere.
Currently sweet orange is the most popular citrus fruit in the world and there are numerous varieties: we count indeed hundreds of types. On the market we can find blond and red oranges which are characterized by a darker color and a more sugary taste. A tip: distrust large and beautiful sweet oranges and prefer the tiny ones, they will have more juice to squeeze.
In Italy only there are more than twenty varieties of oranges that are grown as dessert fruit and there are just as many varieties of fruit you can use to make an excellent orange juice. Oranges with blond pulp are often used in the fruit juice production and, to a lesser extent, for candied fruit and dried fruit.
Is sweet orange healthy?
Mothers always say it: an orange keeps colds away and fights flu symptoms. As a real concentrate of vitamin C and natural sweetener, orange finds enormous use in numerous sectors: in fact it has a tonic action to the stomach. Widely used in the pharmaceutical industry as a corrective and a flavoring, but also in confectionery and liquors, not to mention cosmetics, a sector where supposedly miraculous creams based on vitamin C abound. A common belief about oranges is that most of the vitamin C is found in the juice, but it actually contains only 25%. The real wealth, on the other hand, is found in the albedo, that white and spongy part of the fruit we often throw away.
What is sweet orange used for?
In addition to flavoring candies and pastries and giving an enchanting aroma to the skin, sweet orange is very useful in cases of insomnia and stress. Sweet orange essential oil has indeed an antispasmodic action which is especially useful in case of stress and intense physical activity; its anti-insomnia and digestive sedative property turns out to be a precious resource against meteorism. Rich in citrus flavonoids, sweet orange is an excellent ally against capillary fragility, and has always been used in the cosmetic industry for its smoothing anti-cellulite function. Wilden.herbals has chosen this real invigorating vitamin concentrate to create two sweet orange infusions. This ingredient is present both in Remedium n.4 – Hangover and in Remedium n.2 – Boost, two apparently antipodean herbal teas, but with a unique goal: toning the whole body and strengthening the immune system.
Sweet orange: curiosity
In ancient times, it was customary to consume the so-called “capillaire”, a very long coffee with a lemon or orange zest in order to promote digestion after a meal. Incredible, right?
Oranges are also present in mythology and, to be precise, in the marriage of Juno and Jupiter. Legend has it that on the big day the goddess brought oranges for her dowry, as a symbol of love and fertility. Be careful to donate oranges to friends: they could misunderstand you or maybe they’ll appreciate your gesture!