Orange: homage to Asia

Although we consider as the orange so ours (for the Spanish specially, also for the Mexican and American), so much so that even for the 1982 Football World Cup the mascot was Naranjito …. Here is some information and history:

The orange is a edible citrus fruit obtained from sweet orange (Citrus sinensis ×), of bitter orange (bitter orange) and other varieties of orange trees, ancient Asiatic hybrids originated in India, Vietnam or southern China. It is a fleshy hesperidium shell, and its pulp is typically formed by eleven segments or skins full of juice, which contains lots of vitamin C, flavonoids and essential oils.

There are numerous varieties of oranges produced hybrid offspring from the species Citrus maxima (grapefruit), Citrus reticulata (tangerine) and Citrus medica (citron).

The Spanish word “naranja” comes from the Sanskrit narang (नारंग). However it is not a native word in that languag,e but it is believed that it was taken from the ​​Dravidian and Tamil languages which say Narandam (நரந்தம்) to the ‘bitter orange’, nagarukam (நாகருகம்) to the ‘sweet orange,’ and nari (நாரி) ‘fragrance’. The word along with the fruit slowly went to the West: from Sanskrit to Persian (nārensh نارنج), then into Arabic (Naranj (نرنج), the tree, and naranjah نرنجة the fruit) and then to Castilian “orange tree” (naranjo) and “orange” (naranja).

It spread to other European languages ​​in a curious process: the Portuguese changed the initial “n” by “l” (laranja), then passing into Italian. So the initial “l” would not redound with the article “the”, the “l” was removed (arancia). When passing to French it was associated with the lexeme gold (“or” and “aurum”) and resulting in “orange” and “aurantium”. Because in the Middle Ages the cult language of England was French, English took the word “orange”. It was the bitter orange the only orange known in the Middle Ages in Europe.

Later, on trade with India, Portugal brought in the sixteenth century Citrus reticulata × Citrus sinensis and a sweet taste. Spanish first called them respectively “orange of China” and “mandarin orange” or “tangerine”. Citrus sinensis eventually took the name of “orange”, once reserved for the aurantium, which came to be called “bitter orange”. In some parts of Mexico and the Caribbean they continue to call sweet orange Chinese orange. In Puerto Rico and Dominican Republic it is known simply as “Chinese”. Citrus reticulata was losing the name “orange” to stay “tangerine”.

The Persian orange, grown widely in southern Europe after its introduction to Italy in the eleventh century, was bitter. The sweet orange was brought from India in the fifteenth century by Portuguese traders, and quickly replaced the bitter one.

Portuguese, Spanish, Arabic, and Dutch sailors planted citrus trees along trade routes to prevent scurvy. On his second voyage in 1493, Christopher Columbus brought orange seeds and lemons to Haiti and the Caribbean. They were introduced in Florida (along with lemons) in 1513 by the Spanish explorer Juan Ponce de Leon. In California they were introduced by Franciscan along the El Camino Real in the second half of the eighteenth century and in Hawaii in 1792.

Oranges for commercial production are grown in orange groves scattered around the world, although the three largest producers are Brazil, United States and Mexico.

Orange is acidic, with a pH between 2.5 and 3. Although this is not, on average, as strong as lemon, it remains a strong value on the pH scale, much like vinegar. However, thanks to its content of simple sugars highlights both acidic taste and can pass with grapefruit. The most important component of the orange is vitamin C, since 100 gr of orange contain up to 90% of daily needs of an adult. It also contains non-nutritive substances among which include phytochemicals, such as flavonoids (antioxidant, anti-inflammatory and anti-tumor effects) and limonoids (anticancer).

Well, now a recipe. The recipe is from the book “Do not throw” The new kitchen use, Alexandre Fernandes.

Orange peel soup


skin of one large orange or two small

4 medium carrots, peeled

2 medium potatoes, peeled

3 tablespoons olive oil

Salt and pepper to taste

2 liters of water

We put the water to boil in a pot. Add all ingredients finely chopped. We leave it to simmer until all ingredients are cooked. Blend everything until it becomes a cream.

To serve, place some grated peel in each bowl.

The orange peel can be added to the pumpkin or carrot cream you usually prepare.

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