Why a Navel Orange is a Citrus Fruit For Many Choices

Fresh Navel Oranges from Florida

Fresh Navel Oranges from Florida

The Navel Orange is one of the most popular of the orange tree varietals and also one of the most unique and versatile.  Most people know that oranges have many important health benefits to humans.  Millions of people drink orange juice from navel oranges daily as a source of vitamin C, a main nutritional ingredient of navel oranges.  Vitamin C helps keep the human immune system strong, works to absorb iron in the body, helps heal wounds, and can even aid in preventing heart disease. 

Other important nutrients in navel oranges are beta-carotene, which prevents cell damage, calcium for strong, healthy bones, magnesium to maintain healthy blood pressure and potassium for cell electrolytes in balance.  The high fiber content in navel oranges can help improve cholesterol ratios in the body, which is important in controlling diabetes.  Other nutrients in navel oranges are also known to help to prevent other types of cancer as well, including stomach and esophagus cancer.  One of the best ways to get the right amount of these essential nutrients and others is to drink a fresh squeezed juice from a navel orange or to eat it right off the peel!

The navel orange is also a favorite addition to fruit salads or is used to make preserves or jams, such as the ever popular orange marmalade.  Orange oil from naval oranges is a byproduct of the orange peel which is used to flavor food and drink as well as an important ingredient for fragrance in perfumes and aromatherapy.  Orange blossoms can be dried and then used to make a delicious, aromatic tea.  Gardeners often use orange peels to repel slugs and other garden pests. 

Navel oranges are seedless, and the flesh inside is naturally very sweet and juicy, and its taste is very refreshing.  The blossom end of a navel orange looks like a human navel from the outside, which is how the fruit acquired its name.  When a neval orange is peeled, on the inside of the blossom end there is a partially formed, undeveloped conjoined “twin” fruit.  Although navel oranges are clones of a tree originally from Brazil, today they are a very important industry in the United States and grown primarily in Florida, Arizona and California.  Depending on your region of the country, fresh navel oranges are available from winter through late spring.  The kind of navel orange you should buy at the market is one that feels heavy for its size and has no soft spots, outward pitting or mold.

Health Benefits: The Fascinating History of Navel Oranges

Pictured: Oranges Preparing to Be Processed for Fresh Squeezed Florida Orange Juice

Pictured: Oranges Preparing to Be Processed for Fresh Squeezed Florida Orange Juice

Oranges are among the most popular fruits worldwide because of their unique, sweet and refreshing taste.  Also, because not only can they be found in great abundance and varieties, oranges have many important health benefits to the human body.  The navel orange, also known by its scientific term citrus sinensis, is one of the most popular of the orange tree varietals and also one of the most unique. 

Navel oranges are seedless, and once the peel is broken, the flesh inside is naturally very sweet and juicy.  From the outside, the blossom end of a navel orange looks like a human navel, which is how it acquired its name.  Inside, when a naval orange is broken or peeled, you can see a partially formed, undeveloped conjoined “twin” fruit on the blossom end. 

The antioxidant vitamin C is a main nutritional ingredient of navel oranges.  Millions of people drink orange juice from navel oranges daily as a source of vitamin C.  Vitamin C not only helps keep the human immune system strong, but it also helps the body absorb iron, works to heal wounds, and can even help prevent heart disease.  The human body does not naturally produce vitamin C on its own, so one of the best ways to get the right amount of this essential nutrient is to drink a fresh squeezed juice from a navel orange or to eat it right off the peel.

Other nutrients in navel oranges are also known to help to prevent cancer as well, such as stomach and esophagus cancer.  The high fiber content in navel oranges can help improve cholesterol ratios in the body, which is important in controlling diabetes. 

Beta-carotene is another antioxidant found in navel oranges which helps prevent cell damage.  Navel oranges also contain calcium, which promotes strong, healthy bones and vitamin B6 to boost production of hemoglobin in the bloodstream. The high potassium content in navel oranges helps maintain the balance of electrolytes in cells, and its magnesium helps keep blood pressure at an acceptable level.

But one of the most unique things about the naval orange is its history.  To this day, all navel oranges are clones which still originate from a tree in Brazil from almost 200 years ago.  This single tree propagated spontaneous clones and led to being grown in other regions. 

These mutations can only be cultivated through tree cuttings and being grafted onto other trees.  Producing navel oranges is considered a very big industry in the United States and economically important to California, Florida and Arizona where they are primarily grown.

Who Else Loves Valencia Oranges?

Close-Up: Orange blossoms on a Florida Valencia Orange Tree

Close-Up: Orange blossoms on a Florida Valencia Orange Tree

Known as a sweet orange, Valencia Oranges are on average, 2 3/4 to 3 inches in diameter. Valencia’s have a bright orange color and product o to 6 seeds in each fruit.

You can find Valencia Oranges blossoming in the months between March and June. Valencia oranges are able to adapt in various climates, so they can be grown in many different states and countries. Some types that are available for planting are the Rohde Red Valencia, which has a superior peel that is internally flesh colored.

About 50% of this citrus fruit that are produced in the crops are Valencia oranges. It is also the main variety being produced in Florida today.

There are usually two crops after blossoming on the tree – old and new. Its best quality is internally, which is very juicy and sweet, making it a great option for both processed markets and fresh markets. You will rarely find Valencia being harvested before a freeze hit, since it is a late variety.

Most of the hedging is done before or after the harvesting of the crop, but must be done frequently during the same time annually – this helps to prevent having to remove a lot of fruit and wood.

When you’re picking out a selection of Valencia oranges, make sure that they are firm and heavy. It is best to get those that are thin-skinned and smooth. Make sure there are no bruises, mold or other irregularities on them. As Valencia oranges begin to fully ripen, they become a golden color.

During the warm seasons, while the oranges are still in the tree, their skin reabsorbs chlorophyll from the leaves, which causes them to turn green again – this begins at the stem. At this point, the oranges are actually ready, sweet and juicy.

Citrus Fruit Baskets: The Great, Healthy Gift All Year Long

Pictured: Citrus Gift Basket Ready for Delivery

Pictured: Citrus Gift Basket Ready for Delivery

Almost everyone loves citrus fruits of some kind, and one of the most popular and practical gift options, especially in today’s health conscious society, is the citrus fruit basket.  Citrus fruits contain essential vitamins, such as Vitamin C and many others, and are an important food source.  Among the most common and delicious citrus fruits that go into a citrus fruit basket are grapefruit, orange, clementine, tangerine, mandarin, lemon, lime, and kumquat, as well as other fruits that are fresh and available in the United States all year long.

Many gourmet citrus baskets also include pears, figs, apples or grapes as well as nuts, crackers and cheese to add a variety of taste as well as aroma and an elegant look.  Attractively decorated citrus baskets filled with delicious fine fruits and other goodies can be found for anywhere from US$20 to $100 with an easy search on the Internet.  But it’s easy to make and customize your own citrus fruit baskets.

Citrus fruit baskets make excellent gifts for almost any special occasion or event.  The most popular times to send citrus fruit baskets are Thanksgiving, Christmas and Hanukkah because they are not only a celebration of life but great for responsibly feeding visitors who drop by your home or office.

A citrus fruit basket can also be enjoyed on more personal holidays like Valentine’s Day, Mother’s Day and Father’s Day.  A citrus fruit basket in the lunchroom on Secretary’s Day is a sight that will bring a smile of appreciation to every office worker’s face and make him or her feel truly valued by their company.

Other appropriate times to send a delicious, nutritious citrus basket are a birthday, wedding or anniversary, graduation, or the birth of a baby.  The gift of a citrus fruit basket as condolence and sympathy in a time of grieving is more practical than sending flowers. Sending a citrus basket to a mourner allows him or her to focus more on grieving rather than having to provide food and snacks for visitors paying respects.

The gift of a citrus fruit basket is thoughtful, smart and economic and can lead to years of return on your investment, whether you send it to a business or to a family.

Many guides are available online for creating your own citrus fruit basket.  It’s not at all difficult to find the main citrus fruit ingredients, and many people who do it themselves find that it’s and interesting and fulfilling task.  In fact, some of them have enjoyed it so much that they have gone on to start their own citrus basket making companies.

You’re limited only by your imagination!

A Citrus Fruit Basket Is a Great Gift for Any Special Event or Holiday

Fresh Citrus Gift Basket: Perfect for Any Occasion

Fresh Citrus Gift Basket: Perfect for Any Occasion

Sending a citrus fruit basket as a gift for almost any special occasion is a smart and economic investment and always appreciated by the recipients.

Whether it’s a holiday like Christmas or Hanukkah, a special event such as the birth of a baby, a graduation, a wedding anniversary or as condolence in a time of grievance, an attractively decorated citrus basket filled with a variety of delicious fine fruits along with other goodies really shows you care.  It’s easy to make a citrus fruit basket on your own, but if this is not an option, you can find the citrus basket gift you need on the Internet for anywhere from US$20 to $100 with an easy online search.

One of the great things about citrus fruit baskets is that the main ingredients are usually easily available in the United States all the time. The most common citrus fruits that go into a citrus fruit basket are grapefruit, lemon, lime, orange, tangerine, clementine, mandarin, kumquat, pummelo and sometimes other more exotic citrus fruits. Most gourmet citrus baskets also include apples, pears, figs and grapes to add a variety of taste, as well as aroma and an elegant look. Nuts, crackers and cheeses can also be added (as appropriate to the occasion) to make the citrus fruit basket even more inviting.

Citrus fruits have an interesting history that go far back to ancient times. Before the fruits became known as important food staples containing essential vitamins, such as Vitamin C and numerous others, the fragrance of citrus trees, including their fruits and flowers, perfumed rooms, were thought to repel insects, believed to be remedies for poisons and to sweeten breath. Historians claim that Alexander the Great brought the first citrus trees and shrubs to Greece from India in 4th Century BCE. Citrus fruits are shown in many ancient art works, such as relics of the early Christian tile mosaics in the churches of the Emperor Constantine in Istanbul, Turkey. Christopher Columbus is credited with bringing citrus fruits to the New World in 1493.

Almost everyone loves citrus fruits. A citrus fruit basket is a celebration of life, and the gift of a citrus fruit basket is an expression of love and caring. It’s also a very useful gift, especially in a time of mourning when the recipient can focus more on grieving rather than providing food and snacks for guests. In fact, a citrus fruit basket is hit in any party situation or gathering — so why not send one to yourself, whether your party is for 100 people or only two!

A Fruitful Diet: The Many Benefits of Fresh Citrus & Fruit

Fresh Fruits are Recommended for a Daily Healthy Diet

Fresh Fruits are Recommended for a Daily Healthy Diet

Looking for something to turn back your internal clock by increasing your vitality and improving your appearance?

Of course there’s no Fountain of Youth, but research suggests that nature has provided us with an answer that comes very close — fruit. It almost seems too simple: Eat fruit; fool Mother Nature.

Yet studies show that by eating four to five servings of fruit each day, you can improve your chances of staying healthy and vibrant as you age. That’s because fruit is loaded with phytochemicals, which are natural compounds that may help slow the aging process and reduce the risk of many diseases.

Phytochemicals fight to protect your overall health by providing antioxidant effects, stimulating your immune system, modulating the metabolism of your hormones, and acting as antibacterial and antiviral agents. Get too few of these marvelous compounds and you set yourself up for premature aging, as well as placing yourself at risk for some cancers, heart disease, stroke, high blood pressure, cataracts, osteoporosis and urinary tract infections. But if you eat the recommended amount of fruit each day, you improve your odds for a healthier life.

If you think “eat more fruit” means you should just have another slice of strawberry pie, it’s time to explore the variety of offerings Mother Nature has provided in her fruit basket:

* APPLES

Granny Smith, Jonathan, Macintosh, Red Delicious — there are many different varieties of apples. Whether you like them tart or sweet, apples are a good source of vitamin C and fiber. (One medium apple has 5 grams of fiber.)

* APRICOTS

Apricots are “stone-fruit” and are related to the plum and peach. Buy apricots that are orange-yellow — that indicates ripeness. They spoil quickly so if you don’t eat them right away, freeze them for later. Apricots contain vitamin A, which you need for healthy skin and to protect against infections.

* BANANAS

Bananas are an excellent source of potassium, fiber, and vitamins C and B6. Store bananas at room temperature, never in the refrigerator. (The cold makes the fruit decay from the inside.)

* BLUEBERRIES

Blueberries have more antioxidant power than any other fruit or vegetable, giving them remarkable anti-aging potential. Research suggests that blueberries protect against the effects of age-related deterioration of the brain, such as short-term memory loss. Blueberries are also a good source of fiber and vitamin C.

* CANTALOUPE

Cantaloupe is high in vitamins C and A and a good source of potassium and folate. Folate is linked to the prevention of birth defects (such as spina bifida), heart attacks, stroke and colorectal cancer.

* CHERRIES

Cherries are a good source of fiber and vitamin C.

* DATES

Don’t mistake dates for dried fruit — they’re not, even though you’re likely to find them in the dried fruit section at the supermarket. Sometimes known as “the candy that grows on trees,” dates are a good source of fiber.

* GRAPEFRUIT

Grapefruit is high in fiber and vitamin C, and a good source of vitamin A. Just one-half a grapefruit counts as one serving of the recommended four to five servings of fruit per day.

* GRAPES

Grapes are not only high in vitamin C, they contain the phytonutrient “reservatrol,” which is known for its potent antioxidant properties, as well as providing protection against cancer and heart disease.

* KIWIFRUIT

Kiwifruit may look a little funny — it’s brown and fuzzy on the outside; bright green on the inside with tiny black seeds — but it’s high in vitamin C and a good source of fiber, vitamin E and potassium. You’ll know kiwifruit is ripe when it’s slightly soft to the touch and has a fragrant smell.

* MANGOES

This tropical fruit has a flavor that’s often described as tasting like oranges, peaches and pineapples all in one. You’ll know you have a ripe, delicious mango when you can detect a pleasant scent of pine and peach from the stem (no fragrant aroma usually means no flavor). Mangoes are high in vitamin A and a good source of vitamin C.

* ORANGES

Oranges are the largest citrus crop in the world, with navel oranges and Valencia oranges the two most common varieties. One orange contains all the vitamin C your body needs for the day.

* PAPAYAS

Papayas are a tropical fruit that are rated as one of the most nutritious. They’re high in vitamin C and a good source of fiber and folate. As an additional treat, the black seeds found inside a papaya are edible and have a spicy, pepper-like flavor.

* PEACHES

Ever wonder why peaches smell so great? The peach is a member of the rose family and has a similar sweet fragrance when ripe. Peaches are a good source of vitamin C.

* PEARS

There are more than 3000 varieties of pears; Bartlett being the most popular. Pears ripen better off the tree, so ripen your pears in a brown paper bag at room temperature. Pears are a good source of vitamin C and fiber.

* PINEAPPLE

When selecting a fresh pineapple don’t look for shell color — that’s no indication of ripeness. (A green pineapple can be just as ripe and sweet as a pineapple with a golden shell.) Look for a pineapple that has a fresh appearance with deep green leaves, and remember to refrigerate it when you get home to preserve freshness. Pineapple is high in vitamin C.

* PRUNES

Prunes are actually dried French plums, and just eight of them make one serving of fruit for the day. Eat them right out of the bag for a healthy snack — they’re high in fiber and a good source of vitamin A.

* TANGERINES

One of the most distinctive features of tangerines is that when they are peeled, the segments of fruit separate easily, making them an excellent snack food for kids! Tangerines are high in vitamin C and a good source of fiber.

* WATERMELON

Whether seedless or full of seeds, watermelons are high in vitamins C and A.

Remember that whole, fresh fruit is better than canned fruit or fruit juices, but any fruit is better than no fruit. It’s a sweet treat or an excellent side dish or dessert, comes in its own easy-to-open packaging, and best of all, can provide your body with unsurpassed health benefits.

Visit MyOnlineHealthArticles.com for a vitamin C fact sheet and many other natural health articles.

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