Oranges

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Oranges are one of the oldest fruits on earth with records mentioning them as early as 4,000 years ago. For most Americans, oranges are the primary source of vitamin C. A single fruit provides up to 130% of the daily recommended intake. Most of the consumption of oranges are in the form of juice consumption, which is not only convenient but refreshing as well. There are several orange varieties, but the United States primarily produces the sweet orange variety.

  • Kingdom: Plantae
  • Order: Sapindales
  • Family: Rutaceae
  • Genus: Citrus
  • Species: C. sinensis
  • Binomial name: Citrus sinensis

Orange Trivia

  • The first fruit to be ever branded with a trademark was an orange. The brand? “Sunkist”
  • The orange is the official state fruit of Florida.
  • Florida produces 70% of the oranges in the United States, 90% of that production goes to create juice.
  • Forty percent of the total US orange crop goes into making frozen orange concentrate.
  • Oranges were the top citrus product for Texas before the Ruby Red grapefruit mutation was discovered.

Orange Buying Guide

Oranges, no matter which variety, should still be firm when you squeeze on them. Avoid oranges that are soft as this could either mean that they are overripe or they’re one step away from being rotten. Check the oranges for signs of mold or bruising and avoid those. Some scarring and scratches are fine as these are wind scar marks from when the fruits brush up against the branches due to the wind.

Another sign to look for is the weight. Oranges should feel heavy for their size. A light orange means that it’s probably dry inside and nobody wants to eat dry oranges.

Once you’ve done the weight test and checked for damage, smell the oranges. The fruit should smell sweet and citrusy, as ripe oranges will emit the scent through the skin.

Orange Production & Farming in Texas

Before the ruby red grapefruit mutation was discovered, oranges were the primary citrus crop in Texas. While they are no longer the primary citrus product of Texas nowadays, Texas is still the third-largest producer of oranges in the United States. Today, Texas only accounts for 2% of the total orange production in the United States, with the Texas Navel Orange or Valley Orange, being the variant of choice. Most of the Texas orange production stays in the state and goes directly to many local markets, farmers’ markets and big chain stores. There is only one area in Texas where oranges are produced and that is the Rio Grande Valley area.

Pesticides:

Pesticide data on oranges have shown residues of chemicals that are known carcinogens, neurotoxins, hormone disruptors, honeybee killers, and toxins that can cause reproductive or developmental disorders. Due to its skin, the flesh of the oranges is relatively safe, but why take chances?

Several local orchards in Texas offer pick-your-own organic oranges that are free from these pesticides and chemical residues for a minimal cost. If they’re in season, what better way to improve your health than supporting local growers and buying organic.

Geography:

Oranges are extremely prone to cold damage, this is the primary reason why orange production in Texas is mainly located in the Rio Grande Valley region. Local nurseries offer grafted plants for those who want to grow their own oranges at home.

While it is somewhat difficult to grow oranges outside of the Rio Grande Valley Area, it is not impossible. First, you must choose an area that is sheltered from the cold wind. After choosing the site, make sure that the location gets full sun, as oranges need full sun to be able to maximize their fruit production. The soil should be well-drained and free from grass and other plants. The pH level of the soil should be between 2.9-4.0. Adequate cold production must be provided for younger plants.

Packaging:

Oranges are pretty hardy fruits and require no special protective packaging for them to be shipped. They are usually shipped in bulk boxes to be stacked and displayed in stores. Commercially planted oranges sometimes spend up to three months in cold storage facilities before being shipped to supermarkets.

Eating Oranges

Oranges are best eaten in their raw form or juiced. They can be consumed in a number of ways. They can be peeled and eaten segment by segment. They can be cut into wedges, crescents, or strips and enjoyed like that.

Storage:

You can store oranges on the countertop at room temperature for up to a week. Inside the fridge, they can last up to a month if the temperature of the unit is low enough. Only wash oranges when you are ready to consume them as the moisture may cause mold growth.

You can also freeze oranges for up to six months. Simply peel the oranges then remove as much of the pith as possible. Separate them into segments then freeze them in a single layer to avoid clumping. Once they’re individually frozen, you can then transfer them to a freezer-safe bag or container.

Take note that frozen oranges will have an “off” texture to them once defrosted.

We have found that the best way to freeze oranges is to squeeze them into their juice form and freeze them in ice cube trays so they can easily be added to juices and smoothies, just pop them out and add them.

Cooking:

Aside from being enjoyed fresh or added to salads, oranges have a number of other heated applications. Oranges, due to their acidity, make for excellent sauces that pair well with pork, chicken, beef, and even fish. Oranges can also be grilled and added to many roasted dishes to add a citrus zing to it. Oranges can also be squeezed into many baked goodies to add a hint of orange to any pastry. The orange zest can be made into a tasty and beautiful garnish for almost any dessert.

Oranges can also be made into marmalade, but we would suggest using organic oranges for this so that you can avoid consuming pesticide residues.

Nutrition:

  • Carbs
    • The carbs in the oranges are mainly fructose, sucrose, and glucose. These simple sugars are responsible for the sweet taste of oranges.
    • Even though the sugar content seems high, oranges have a relatively low glycemic index range of 31-51. This is due to the polyphenols and the fiber in the oranges which help regulate the rise in blood sugar.
  • Fiber
    • Oranges are a good source of dietary fiber, with one 100g serving providing at least 10% of the RDI.
    • The fibers in oranges are cellulose, lignin, hemicellulose, and pectin.
      • These fibers support digestive health by flushing out toxins as well as becoming “food” for good bacteria.
    • Vitamins and minerals:
      • Oranges as known as one of the best (and tastiest) sources of vitamin C, with one whole orange providing over 100% of the RDI.
      • Oranges also contain good amounts of folate which are needed by pregnant women for proper development of the fetus.
      • Oranges are also loaded with phenolics, which are compounds that have antioxidant properties.
      • Oranges also contain citric acid which may prevent or even treat kidney stone formations.

When Are Oranges in Season in Texas?

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  • January
  • February
  • March
  • April
  • September
  • Oktober
  • November
  • December

One of the most salient benefits to eating seasonally is that you are effectively reducing your carbon footprint and supporting a more geographically sustainable food economy. We are rarely encouraged to think about the physical lengths our food travels before arriving on the market shelves. And all of this travel comes with a hefty environmental cost that is concealed from the consumer’s eye. Check other fruit and veg that’s in season in Texas.

Buy Local Farmfresh Oranges in Texas Directly from the Producer

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156 produce

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B&M Farms Blueberry Patch

mapMarkerGreyWinnsboro

Ball Orchard

mapMarkerGreyCanton

Bourquin Farms and Produce

mapMarkerGreyAlvin

Co-Creative Farm

mapMarkerGreyCorpus Christi

Corpus Christi Produce

mapMarkerGreyAlamo

Engert Farms

mapMarkerGreyNatalia

Fernandez Family Farms

mapMarkerGreyJacksonville

HalleluYah Haven

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MaDear’s Jellies

mapMarkerGreyMission

Marshall Farms

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Nelda’s Produce

mapMarkerGreyKlondike

Sally’s Produce

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South Tex Organics

mapMarkerGreyMcAllen

Strohmeyer Family Farm DBA G&S Groves

mapMarkerGreyRichardson

Stubblefield Produce

mapMarkerGreyQuinlan

Sunfun Farms

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Triple J Organics

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Wilcox Market Garden