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Orange

History of Orange

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Orange, the delectable pulpy fruit, belongs to the genus citrus, the other famous members of which include the lemon, lime and grapefruit. The scientific name of the sweet variety of orange is citrus sinensis, while the bitter variety is called citrus aurantium. The name of the fruit is presumably derived from the Sanskrit Nāraṅgaḥ and Telugu Naringa, which after moving through different languages such as Persian, Armenian, Arabic, Spanish, Portuguese, Latin, Italian and French, ultimately become orange in English. The fruit is covered by a bright yellow to orange-colored skin, known as the epicarp and a thick, spongy mesocarp that lies beneath the epicarp. The internal part is called the pulp, which is divided into several individual segments, that contain the actual pulp and the juicy fruit.
Historical Facts about Oranges
The orange plant is believed to be a native of Southeast Asia, mainly in southeast and northeast India. Different varieties were grown in both the regions of India, which dates back almost 7000 years. The fruit was mainly used in various dishes, for the excellent flavor that it imparts. Many historians are of the opinion that it was grown in the orchards of China by the beginning of the 1st century millennium. Soon, the nobility grew fond of this delightful fruit, which gave rise to a growing competition among cultivators to produce larger and tastier oranges in order to please them.
Among the Europeans, Romans were the first to taste this juicy fruit. It reached the Roman empire around the 1st century BC. The credit for introducing this fruit to the Roman empire, goes to the Persian traders, who had trade relations with India and Ceylon. It became quite popular among the nobility and military classes of the empire. The Romans developed the first orchard of oranges in North Africa, in around the 1st century AD. The oranges grown in North Africa were mainly supplied across the Mediterranean. However, the 6th century witnessed the decline of the Roman empire and the rise of the Islamic Caliphate. North Africa came under the domination of the Islamic Caliphate in the 7th century, which led to the closure of trade routes to Mediterranean countries. The Islamic rulers instead started trade routes towards the Middle East and thus, oranges reached the Middle East countries. But, a revival of the orange trade to Europe took place in the 11th century.
However, its sweet variety reached Europe in the 16th century BC, by Portuguese traders. In many Mediterranean languages, this sweet variety is known as the Portugal orange, probably as a sign of acknowledgment. Then It was introduced to America, by Spanish explorers and conquerors. The Spanish explorers arrived in South America in the 15th century AD, and probably initiated orange cultivation in Cananeia, an island off the Sao Paulo coast, in around the 16th century. Today, the South American country, Brazil, is the leading producer of oranges, Sao Paulo being the main center of production. Brazil accounts for almost half of the world’s total production of oranges.
Today, they are of the most sought after fruits of the world, not only for its great taste but also for its nutritional value. It is a rich source of vitamin C, or ascorbic acid, folic acid, vitamin B6, flavonoids, pectin and dietary fiber. Besides, it also contains a significant amount of minerals like potassium salt, calcium, phosphorus, magnesium, copper, etc. It does not contain harmful cholesterol and fats. It can be of immense help in many ailments like high blood pressure, hardening of arteries, constipation, heart disease and stomach ulcer. Besides, it contains antioxidants, which are effective in protecting the body from harmful free radicals. So, the regular consumption of this nutritious fruit will definitely help you to remain healthy and fit.

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