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There are various species - the sweet orange Citrus Sinensis is the one commonly eaten fresh; the Jaffa, blood and navel are all varieties of this species.

Tangerines and mandarins belong to a related species Citrus Reticulata; while the sour orange (or Seville) Citrus Aurantium is the bitter orange used for making the best marmalade.

Oranges also yield several essential oils.

On one rootstock or another, some of them dating from stock planted in Florida by Ponce de Léon I 1513, the U.S.A. now grows over 25 billion oranges in a typical year, more than the next three largest producers (Spain, Italy and Mexico) combined.

Most Florida orange trees have lemon-tree roots; while all Californian lemon trees have orange-tree roots. One citrus tree can, in fact, with the botanist"s help have lemons, limes, oranges, tangerines, kumquats and grapefruit growing on its branches at the same time.

The first Englishmen to taste oranges were probably the crusaders who wintered with Richard Coeur-de-Lion around Jaffa in 1191-2. While the first oranges to reach these shores in any quantity, about a century later, were bitter in the style of modern Seville oranges, so used for marmalade instead of more usual quinces.

If you enjoy cooking take a minute to look at ‘Simon Scrutton French Cookery Classes’ on Google – and learn how to make top class bistro-style dishes. Suitable for beginners upwards. Small classes.

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