Posted in Kafevend Blog

The orange

It's time to ponder yet another fruit here on the Kafevend blog- following on from blackcurrants last week, today we are moving on to rather larger fare as we consider the orange. A popular staple, oranges have made their way into drinks in a few ways- some less obvious than others. Before that of course, let's consider its history.

Oranges abroad

The orange belongs to the genus Citrus, and is a hybrid of a fruit called a pomelo and the mandarin, each belonging to the original citrus family from which all others are derived. There are two main sorts of orange: sweet and bitter. Both derive from the same hybridization, but have differed slightly. The orange fruit itself, along with the other citrus fruits, is something called a hesperidium- which is basically a technical term for a berry gone mad!

Quite where oranges began growing is unknown, but best guesses put it around the area where China and India meet. The first people to cultivate oranges were the Chinese, back thousands of years ago around 2,500 BCE. The bitter orange amongst other citrus fruits were the first to reach Europe in the 11th century, brought back by returning crusaders. The sweet orange arrived later, in the 15th and 16th centuries, introduced by Italian and Portuguese merchants. It made its way to the Americas only a little later as Spanish settlers and conquistadors headed westwards across the Atlantic later in the 16th century.

The sweet orange was quickly picked up on as a delicious edible fruit and was considered to be a luxury item. Those with the cash to do so built grand conservatories, called orangeries, specifically for the purpose of growing oranges. In colder countries, such as our own, orange trees would grow outside during the warmer months and then be moved into the orangeries during the winter in order to escape the chill.

Make it a small one

Let's get the obvious one out of the way- orange juice. Popular all over the place, it's one of the most enjoyed fruit juices you can find. Recent studies have been suggesting that over indulging in fruit juice might not be as good for us as we have been led to believe, however. In fact, fruit juices and fruit smoothies rival soft drinks such as cola in sugar content. Whilst you shouldn't cut it out of your life completely, it is recommended that you keep it to a small glass a day.

As any regular readers might have guessed, oranges have found their way into our tea cups too. Various parts of the orange can be used- the fruit itself is an obvious one, but the peel, blossom and even the leaves all serve as a way to create a superb infusion. Making yourself a cup is as easy as adding a few slices to a glass and adding boiling water- you might like to add sugar or honey if you find it a tad bitter!

If getting your hands dirty isn't your style, there are plenty of orange teas out there ready for you to buy. Clipper have an organic orange and coconut tea on offer, blending together an acid tang and creaminess that makes the mouth water just thinking about it. If that didn't get you going, then the Kent & Sussex Tea & Coffee Company's chocolate orange tea surely will- black tea, white chocolate and orange peel all together- blimey! Finally, one of the tip top ways to enjoy a citrus twist in your tea is by picking up some Earl Grey, with oil of the bergamot orange added to black tea.


The Guardian

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