Plant Profile – Orange
Oranges are thought to have originated around 4000 B.C. in Southeast Asia. They’re a hybrid of the pomelo (Chinese grapefruit) and the tangerine. These juicy, sweet citrus fruits are known for being very high in vitamin C and high in vitamin A. Approximately 85 percent of oranges are grown to produce juice.
Typically, the peel is discarded when people eat an orange. The peels are also rich in fiber, vitamin C, and plant compounds like polyphenols. Eating large quantities of orange peel is not recommended because their high fiber content makes them difficult to digest. They also have an unappealing tough, dry texture.
The peels can be cut into very thin strips and added to salads, candied, or used to make marmalade. Many recipes call for orange zest as a way of adding fresh orange flavor to baked goods. Some herbal teas also include orange peels.
Botanical name: Citrus sinensis
USDA Hardiness Zones: 9 to 11
Sun exposure: Full sun
Purchase the correct size tree for your garden space. Full-sized trees reach between 20 and 30 feet in height, semi-dwarf varieties reach between 10 and 15 feet in height and dwarf orange trees reach between 5 and 10 feet in height.
Orange trees are self-pollinating so they can be grown as houseplants with frequent pruning.
It is possible to grow an orange tree from seed, but it may take up to 15 years for it to begin producing fruit. Most orange trees are grown on grafted rootstock. Grafted trees may begin fruit production in only three years.
Oranges can be grown in warm, moist soil or containers. They’re hardy to 45 degrees. Move your plant indoors or to a heated greenhouse from fall to late spring if you live in a cold climate.
Oranges take months to ripen. Navel oranges take 7 to 12 months to ripen and Valencia oranges take 12 to 15 months to ripen. Color alone is not an indicator of ripeness.
A ripe orange will give slightly when it’s ripe. Test taste for a few weeks before you fully harvest. Some varieties of oranges will stay fresh on the tree for 2 to 6 months.
Oranges can be stored in the refrigerator for a couple of weeks. Remove any that have started to grow mold to prevent it from spreading.
When used as directed, Airmid’s Harvest salad dressing blends do not contain enough orange peel or any other herb to produce any medicinal benefits. My products and this herb profile are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease or medical condition.
Please consult with a qualified healthcare practitioner before using herbal products, particularly if you are pregnant, nursing, or on any medications.
For more details, visit the post about growing oranges on my gardening blog, The Farmer’s Garden.