Commissioner Adam H. Putnam

Florida Agriculture: 500 Years in the Making

“Fresh2U” Nutrition Program for Kids and Parents


Oranges are divided into two groups -- sweet and sour. The sweet orange, most commonly grown and eaten in the United States is believed to have originated in southern China. The sour type originated in India. Both kinds of oranges were brought to America by the Spanish and Portuguese in the 1500s. In 2000, Florida ranked number one in the nation in the value of oranges produced.

Florida oranges are available from October through June.

An excellent source of vitamin C, one orange provides more than the recommended daily allowance. A medium size orange contains about 50 calories and is a good source of dietary fiber.

When selecting oranges, pick those that are firm and heavy for their size. Russeting, which is a rough brown spot on the skin, does not affect the flavor. Often ripe oranges will have a slight green color.

Oranges are commonly cut into sections and eaten directly or segments are added to fruit and green salads and gelatin molds. Valencias, especially the Florida variety, are considered to be the best oranges for juicing. Squeeze juice from Valencia halves and drink it, or use the juice to marinate meats before cooking.

Stored at temperatures just above freezing, oranges can have a shelf life of two to three months.

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