The orange is a round citrus fruit with a skin that can vary in thickness. Oranges are orange in colour and are approximately two to three inches in diameter.
There are several varieties of oranges and these include the loose-skinned, tight-skinned and sour orange varieties.
The word "orange" is derived from the Sanskrit word narang or from the Tamil language. The orange fruit has 11 pieces inside and in Tamil, the word "Orangu" translates to "6 and 5" implying 11.
Oranges originated in Asia thousands of years ago. They were grown in the region from southern China to Indonesia from where they spread to India. Oranges were not cultivated in the Middle East until sometime around the 9th century. Oranges were introduced into Europe around the 15th century by the Moors, the Portuguese as well as Italian traders.
 Health benefits
Oranges are full of good food ingredients like vitamins A, B, C and calcium. They are also an excellent source for calcium. In addition, they contain contain sodium, potassium, magnesium, copper, sulphur and chlorine. Oranges are also a great source of iron and help to keep cholesterol levels low.
Since they contain a large amount of Vitamin C, oranges can help prevent colds and the flu. The vitamin C also helps to fight off airborne germs during winter. Oranges are an excellent source of dietary fiber.
A natural cancer-inhibitor, orange is rich in carotenoids, terpenes and flavonoids. It is also rich in antioxidant vitamin C and beta-carotene and is specifically tied to lower rates of pancreatic cancer. Orange juice have been found to protect mice sperm from radiation damage. Because of its high vitamin C, oranges may help ward off asthma attacks, bronchitis, breast cancer, stomach cancer, arteriosclerosis, gum disease, and boost fertility and healthy sperm in some men. May aggravate heartburn.
 Medicinal properties
Oranges have many medicinal properties and are used as stimulants, anti-hypertensive, sedative, anti-spasmodic, diuretic and anti-depressants. They are also helpful in controlling hysteria, insomnia and nervous tension.
Orange is an excellent food during fever when the digestive power is hampered. It can be given to patients suffering from a blood poisoning called toxemia. Orange juice gives energy, increases urinary output and promotes body resistance against infections. It creates suitable condition for the development of friendly bacteria in the intestines.
Oranges are useful in treating constipation as well. Eating an orange at bedtime and first thing in the morning is a good way of stimulating the bowels.
Since it is an excellent source of calcium and vitamin C, orange is very useful in prevention of diseases of the bone and teeth. They are especially beneficial in pyorrhea and dental caries.
Orange juice is given to infants who are not fed on breast milk as well as older ones whose development is unsatisfactory to prevent scurvy and rickets and promote growth.
Use of oranges in home remedies
- The use of orange juice with honey is a very safe energy giving liquid food.
- Orange juice mixed with a pinch of salt and a tablespoonful of honey is an effective food remedy for tuberculosis, asthma, common cold, bronchitis and other conditions of cough associated with difficult expectoration.
- Orange peel is used in the treatment of pimples and acne. The peel, pounded well with water on a piece of stone, should be applied to the affected areas. It is said to be more effective, if it is pounded with rain water.
 How to select and store
It is not essential for oranges do not necessarily have to have a bright orange color to be good for consumption. The color of non-organic oranges may be due to injection of Citrus Red Number 2 which is an artificial dye. Oranges that are partially green may be just as ripe and tasty as those that are bright orange in color. Choose oranges that have no soft spots. Since pesticide residues are frequently found in oranges, buy organic oranges whenever possible.
Always select oranges that are firm, have a smooth textured skin and are heavy for their size. They will have a higher juice content than oranges that are lighter. As a general rule, smaller oranges will be juicier than larger ones.
Oranges can either be stored at room temperature or in the refrigerator.They have a shelf life of about two weeks and the vitamin C content does not decrease.
Orange juice and orange zest can also be stored for later use. Freshly squeezed orange juice can be frozen in ice cube trays. Dried orange zest should be stored in airtight glass containers.
 Serving ideas
Simply peel and enjoy oranges. Wash the fruit first to prevent dirt or bacteria residing on the peel to the fruit.
Thin-skinned oranges are easy to peel with the fingers. To peel the thicker skinned varieties, first cut a small section of the peel from the top of the orange. Then make longitudinal sections from top to bottom and peel away these sections of skin.
Oranges are often used in recipes in the form of orange juice. Citrus fruits produce more juice when warmer. ALways have them at room temperature when a recipe calls for orange juice.
If a recipe calls for orange zest, make sure that you use an orange that is organically grown as the pee may have pesticide residues or may be artificially colored. Make sure not to remove too much of the peel as the white pith underneath is bitter.
 Quick Serving Ideas
- Make a sauce for serving with salmon or tuna by sautéeing onions and ginger and then deglazing the pan with orange juice.
- Add orange segments to boiled beets to make a refreshing salad.
- Simmer sweet potatoes and orange segments in orange juice.
- Use orange segments in any kind of salad
 Allergic Reactions
Oranges are one of the foods most commonly associated with allergic reactions. Some of the most common symptoms for include eczema, hives, skin rash, headache, runny nose, itchy eyes, wheezing, gastrointestinal disturbances, depression, hyperactivity and insomnia.
 Other peculiar characteristics
- The calcium in fortified orange juice is better absorbed than the calcium in milk. A glass of milk (8 ounces) has 291 mg of calcium; of which 93 mg is absorbed (31%). Fortified orange juice (8 ounces) has 350 mg of calcium; of which 130 mg. is absorbed (37%).
- One orange contains about 50 mg. vitamin C; this is about 2/3 of our daily need;
- Oranges are an acid and therefore a detoxifying fruit;
- Bitter oranges can't be eaten raw and are used to make marmalades;
- The orange colors orange under the influence of cold temperatures. In the tropics the fruit keeps a green to green with yellow stains color.
Make a citrus splash by the following method. Mix finely chopped lemon and orange zests with a few tablespoons of vodka and place in an airtight container for one week. Strain the mixture and add a few drops of mandarin, lemon and orange essential oils to the liquid. DOn not open the jar for two weeks, simply shaking the contents every few days.Shake the contents once a day for two and a half weeks making sure not to open the jar. Store in a dark place or an opaque bottle.
 Did you know?
- The orange is the chief food crop of the United States.
- In several parts of the world oranges have long been associated with fertility as it simultaneously produces flowers, fruit and foliage.
- Oranges can be stored at cool room temperature for a day or so, but should then be refrigerated and can be kept there for up to 2 weeks.
- Bitter oranges are cooked in preparations such as marmalade and bigarade sauce.
- Bitter oranges are also greatly valued for their peel, which is candied, and their essential oils, which are used to flavor foods as well as some liqueurs. *Most of the bitter orange comes from Spain.
- Green oranges undergone a natural process called regreening where ripe oranges pull green pigment from the leaves. Green oranges are tasty and usually very sweet.
- Though orange juice contains vitamin C and potassium, it is not very high on the nutritional scale as it provides little carbohydrates in the form of a natural sugar.
- Orange juice will lose more vitamin C content when stored in an open container or one with a plastic lid. Always store orange juice in a glass container with a screw cap.
- Oranges that need to be peeled for dishes should be soaked in boiling water for at least five to seven minutes before peeling. This will make it easier to peel and remove all the white pulp.
 Useful websites
- Helpful Alternative Medicine
- The Fruit Pages