Sunday, 26 June 2011

Roses are red, Violets are blue, but Oranges are, umm, green

Believe it or not the exotic green fruit in the above picture is the Laranja (aka the common Orange).

According to Wikipedia “Brazil is the largest orange-producing nation in the world, and production is located primarily in the state of São Paulo, which accounts for approximately 80% of Brazil's production and 53% of total global FCOJ (frozen concentrated orange juice) production (in the region of Campinas, São Carlos, São José do Rio Preto and Barretos, and the western part of the state of Minas Gerais)”

So if São Paulo is orange central are oranges actually supposed to be green? And if so why don’t we call them “greens” instead of “oranges”?

My theory, which is of course completely unsubstantiated, is that they export all the orange oranges and leave us city folk back home with all the green duds which they couldn’t sell. If anyone’s got a better theory let me know. In nay case they taste quite alright, so I’m not complaining…


Anonymous said...

Well, that's easy to explain .Like many fruits in Brazil there are many varieties of oranges those in your picture are probably the one called "laranja lima" and they naturally have this greenish skin.
I,ve seen one variety with a totally yellow skin.Don't be suprised if you find one with a purple skin.

Pierre Larose said...

Thanks for the explanation - I'll look out for those purple ones ;)

Ray and Gil said...


Most oranges are naturally "GREEN" on the outside and only "ORANGE" inside. The ORANGES that are ORANGE on the outside, are "artificially colored, for marketing reasons.
In Brazil, they are sold natural, no artificial coloring.


Pierre Larose said...

Hey Ray,

It seems that temperature is critical to oranges colouring and that some are artificially coloured as you point out.

I found this text online which pretty explains it fairly clearly:

"Oranges generally fall into two groups: sweet (Citrus sinensis) and bitter (C. aurantium). Oranges are not always orange. In some countries where the temperatures never cool off, oranges remain green, even when mature. It is the cool temperatures which promote the release of the orange pigments (carotenes). If the temperature fluctuates, the fruits may alternate from one colour to the other. To overcome this problem, oranges are often treated with ethylene, which promotes the development of a uniformly "orange" appearance. Depending on the variety, oranges can also be yellow or mottled with red. Their size also varies from being as large as a football to as small as a cherry. The flavours range from sweet to intensely sour.

Oranges look the most appealing when they are a deep, vibrant orange colour; but, on the tree, a mature orange is usually green-skinned. It will turn orange only if the cold temperature destroys the green chlorophyll pigments, allowing the yellow carotenoids underneath to show through. In warmer climates, oranges are always green; but, in the US, oranges are green only if they are picked in the fall before the first cold snap or if they are picked early in the spring when the tree is flooded with chlorophyll to nourish the coming new growth. Green oranges will also change colour if they are exposed to ethylene gas which, like the cold, breaks down the chlorophyll in the skin. Oranges are often dyed to attain the orange colour that consumers demand"


Leza Smith said...


Orange colour is orange.

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