All About Temple Oranges

Temple oranges, also known as tangor, are hybrid citrus fruits. They’re hybrids of the mandarin orange and the sweet orange.

The mandarin orange is a tangerine – this is how tangor came into play. The name tangor is a combo of tangerine and orange. There are all sorts of varieties of the temple oranges, there’s

  • King, or King of Siam
  • Murcott, or Honey Murcott, Murcott Honey Orange, Red, Big Red
  • Ortanique, which are found in Jamaica – comes from orange, tangerine and unique
    Umatilla or Umatilla Tangelo

Then there are the Temple oranges from Japan, including:

  • Iyokan, also known as sweet oranges
  • Miyauchi Iyo, has an early ripening
  • Othani Iyo, has a later ripening
  • Kiyomi, Trovita navel orange
  • Setom, Trovita navel orange

Temple oranges are from the class of Eudicots and the Rutaceae family.

Temple oranges are thought to be identical to the Magnet orange in Japan. The seed of the temple orange was believed to be discovered by a fruit buyer by the name of Boyce. He went to Jamaica in 1896 to buy oranges – this was after a really cold winter in Florida. After finding it, he sent the budwood to Winter Park, Florida. Word began to spread quickly about the new find. One was planted in the grove of L.A. Hakes, who then spread the word to W.C. Temple. Temple then recommended it to H.E. Gillett, the owner of Buckeye Nurseries. The orange was then named, propagated and marketed in 1919. It wasn’t until after 1940 when it began to be planted extensively.

The peel of the temple oranges are between deep orange and deep red. The peel is glossy and a bit rough and thick, almost like leather. You can find about 20 seeds in temple oranges. The tree it blossoms in it thorny and bushy – it grows better in Florida than Texas and California. Temples are medium to large, between 2 5/8 and 31/4 inches in wide and 2 ¼ and 2 ½ in height. It is usually round or oblate. About 25 percent of the temple oranges are under-developed and have a green inside.

They are very juicy and sweet, making them a great treat or snack throughout the day. The oranges have nitrogen and potassium excessively applied to them, which produces the acidity of the juice. Those with low acid juice have lower rates of nitrogen and potassium, but high rates of phosphorous.

What to Look for in Nutrient Rich Oranges

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

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

Oranges contain a range of nutrients that encompass more than just Vitamin C. Oranges contain foliate, fiber, antioxidants, potassium, thiamine calcium and magnesium. It is estimated that one orange can provide as much as 2/3 to all of the daily requirements of Vitamin C.

Oranges are such a versatile fruit tree that this evergreen is widely grown in Florida, Arizona and California. Orange trees can be found in not only sweet orange groves but also as part of an overall landscaping plan. The hearty bitter variety of orange tree tends to be found in landscaping design.

Being the United States third most popular fruit yielding only to apples and bananas is not the oranges only claim to fame. Orange blossoms are pungently sweet and the scent is commonly used in colognes, perfumes and soaps.

When buying oranges look for firm round oranges that seem heavy for there size. This heaviness is an indication that the orange is full of juice.

Some green in oranges may be acceptable. When oranges are left on the tree to ripen they may uptake some of the chlorophyll used by the tree. This will only strengthen the sweetness of the orange.

After you get your oranges home they can be kept in either the refrigerator or on the counter. Oranges will keep well for up to two weeks. Avoid extra moisture when storing oranges never store oranges in plastic bags for this will encourage growth of mold.

Shauna Hanus is a gourmet cook who specializes in creating gourmet recipes. She has extensive experience cooking with easy to find grocery items to create delightful gourmet meals. She is also the publisher of a no cost bi-monthly gourmet newsletter. Her newsletter is always fun and informational packed with tips and trivia you can use everyday. Sign up for her newsletter and learn more about Gourmayeats Weekly Recipe Club at