SWEET CITRUS

Oxford Dictionary definition of CITRUS:  A tree of a genus that includes citron, lemon, lime, orange and grapefruit.

NAVEL ORANGE                   

When developing my PAST garden, the only remaining tree was a very old Navel Orange with wizened trunk and branches.   My thought was that I would remove it if it didn’t perform well.   Amazingly, it bore enough fruit for me to enjoy an orange a day during the winter months. Navel is one of the most popular orange varieties and is available in Australia during the months from June to October.   They are sweet and juicy, rich in orange colour, seedless and easy to peel. They are grown mainly in the southern States of Australia and in South Australia are grown in the Riverland.

The Navel Orange is characterized by the growth of a second fruit at the apex which protrudes slightly and resembles a human navel.   As the fruit is seedless, and therefore sterile, the only method used to cultivate navel oranges was to graft cuttings on to other varieties of citrus trees.   Today, navel oranges continue to be propagated through cutting and grafting.   This does not allow for the usual selective breeding methodologies and so all navel oranges can be considered fruits from a single, nearly two-hundred-year-old-tree:  they have exactly the same genetic make-up as the original tree and are, therefore, clones.   Oranges must ripen while they are on the trees.   No man-made process to date can artificially ripen oranges, so they must be ripe at the time of harvesting.

Oranges are the most widely known citrus fruit in the world and are high in nutritional benefits, especially Vitamin C.   They can be peeled and eaten, squeezed for the juice or used in recipes as flavouring or as a garnish. Orange is among the world’s favourite flavours after chocolate and vanilla.   The colour Orange was named after the fruit, and the first recorded use of orange as a colour name in English was in 1512.

                         Queen Victoria was known for starting the fashion for brides to wear Orange Blossoms, known for their beautiful perfume, at their weddings.  Although orange blossoms were worn well before the Queen’s wedding, the Queen was the one to change the tide of wedding fashion.   Wearing orange blossoms depicted wealth and status.   When the flowers were not available, the Victorians did what they did best, they started making them.   They got creative and made the most wonderful headpieces from wax.   Victorian brides wore them in their hair and the groom and attendants wore them in the buttonholes.

MIDDLE EASTERN ORANGE CAKE RECIPE

Ingredients:    2 large oranges, 6 eggs (beaten), 250 gms. ground almonds, 250 gms. castor sugar, 1 tspn. baking powder, 1 cup low fat yoghurt

Wash the oranges and place in a saucepan with water to cover.   Bring to the boil, cover and simmer for 2 hours.  Allow the oranges to cool, then cut open and remove the pips (navels don’t have pips, of course) and roughly chop the flesh.   Preheat the oven to 190 degrees C.   Grease and flour a 22cm. springform tin.   Process the cooked oranges, eggs, ground almonds, sugar and baking powder in a food processor.  Pour the batter into the prepared tin.   Bake for 1 hour or until the centre is firm (note that this is a very moist cake and if it appears very wet cook it a little longer).   Cool in the tin before gently turning out.  Peel two oranges with a small paring knife and remove the membrane.   Dust cake with icing sugar and serve with yoghurt and fresh orange segments.

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