| || Orange Alert! Navel Assault!!|
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|An Orange—specifically, the Sweet Orange, is the most commonly grown tree fruit in the world. Then again, they’ve been around for quite a while. |
It’s believed that Oranges probably originated in Southeast Asia and were cultivated in China by 2500 BC.
Today, Orange trees are widely cultivated in tropical and subtropical climates for their sweet fruit, their juice and their fragrance. The worldwide 2010 crop was estimated at 65 million metric tons which makes their production, and that industry, the life blood of many states and even countries.
THE most popular eating Orange in the U.S. is the Naval Orange. Navel Oranges are seedless, slightly larger than the Sweet Orange, are easy to peel and have sweet, full-bodied segments just made for eating out of hand. From the outside, the blossom end of a Navel Orange looks like a human navel, which is how it acquired its name.
The U.S. Naval oranges are primarily harvested in two states, Florida and California. As Florida focuses primarily on “juice” Oranges, their harvest season is shorter and lasts from as early as late October through January. In California, the harvest begins at nearly that same time but extends an additional couple months if the weather cooperates.
Historically speaking, Naval Oranges, although a derivative of the ancient Orange, haven’t been around that long.
They began in 1820, in a monastery garden in Bahia, Brazil as an odd chance mutation of a Selecta orange. Named the Bahia Navel Orange, Brazil sent a dozen of these trees to the U.S. Department of Agriculture in Washington D.C. in 1870. From there, a Mrs. Eliza Tibbetts of Riverside, CA heard about these Oranges and wrote to the U.S.D.A. in 1873 asking for two of the new Navel Oranges. Her subsequent work with these Oranges would revolutionize the commercial Orange industry (mostly in California.)
This new mutant bud stock called the Bahia Navel, was then later renamed the Riverside Navel, and then renamed again the Washington Navel after George Washington for a more national appeal. All new varieties of Navel Oranges can trace their roots back to the Washington Navel and even back further to the 1820 Bahia Navel.
Today, Navel Oranges continue to be produced through cutting and grafting (and not seeds) so not only do the navel oranges of today have exactly the same genetic makeup as the original tree, and are therefore clones, but all Navel Oranges can be considered to be the fruit of that single nearly two-hundred-year-old tree.
Another recent (1976) clone of the Brazilian Bahia Navel Orange are the Cara Cara Oranges (also called "Red Navel"). They are grown primarily in Venezuela, South Africa, and California's San Joaquin Valley. The bright orange exterior of Cara Cara Oranges is similar to other Navels, but their interior is a distinctive pinkish red. They are sweet and are rather low in acid.
Health Benefits of Naval Oranges
Vitamin C. The antioxidant Vitamin C is a main nutritional ingredient of Navel Oranges. Vitamin C not only helps keep the human immune system strong, but it also helps the body absorb iron, works to heal wounds, and can even help prevent heart disease. The human body does not naturally produce Vitamin C on its own, so one of the best ways to get the right amount of this essential nutrient is to drink a fresh squeezed juice from a Navel Orange or to eat it right off the peel.
Fiber The high fiber content in Navel Oranges can help improve cholesterol ratios in the body, which is important in controlling diabetes. Beta-carotene is another antioxidant found in navel oranges which helps prevent cell damage. Navel Oranges also contain calcium, which promotes strong, healthy bones and Vitamin B6 to boost production of hemoglobin in the bloodstream. The high Potassium content in navel oranges helps maintain the balance of electrolytes in cells, and its Magnesium helps keep blood pressure at an acceptable level.
Want to learn more about other Citrus fruit? Click here to read one of our previous feature articles entitled: Citrus Fruits
Want a NEW Naval Orange Recipe?? It’s right here!
Orange Alert Salad
For the Salad:
1 Cup Red Onion, Thinly Sliced
1 Cup Jicama, Peeled, Julienned
½ Cup Red Bell Pepper, Julienned
1 Package Nino’s Italian Greens Medley
3 Cups Naval Oranges (about 4) Segmented then Segments cut in 4 pieces each
For the Dressing:
¼ Cup Fresh Orange Juice (from your Oranges)
1 TBSP Fresh Lime Juice
2 TBSP Honey
2 tsp Sesame Oil
½ tsp Cumin
½ tsp Chili Powder
½ tsp Salt
2 TBSP Fresh Cilantro, Chopped
1. Whisk together all dressing ingredients. Drizzle half the dressing over the onions, bell pepper & jicama. Refrigerate for at least an hour.
2. Just before serving, remove onions & jicama from the dressing & toss with the lettuce.
3. Arrange oranges on top and drizzle the remaining dressing over the salad.