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Temple oranges are medium to large in size, averaging 7-10 centimeters in diameter, and are oblate to round in shape. The thin, bright red-orange rind is glossy with a semi-rough, leathery, and pebbled texture due to many oil glands that secret fragrant essential oils. Underneath the surface of the rind, the spongy, white pith is very thin to almost nonexistent and clings loosely to the flesh creating an easy-to-peel nature. The flesh is tender, very juicy, contains cream-colored seeds, and is divided into 10-11 segments by thin membranes. The flesh may also vary in color from orange to green, depending on when the fruit is harvested. Temple oranges have a complex but balanced, sweet-tart flavor that is bright and tangy, complemented by notes of warm, sugary spice.
Temple oranges are available for a limited season during the late winter through early spring.
Temple oranges, botanically classified as Citrus reticulate, are a hybrid variety that grows on moderately sized evergreen trees and belongs to the Rutaceae or citrus family. Also known as the Royal Mandarin and originating from Jamaica, Temple oranges are technically a hybrid known as a tangor, which is a cross between a tangerine and an orange. There are many different sub-varieties of Temple oranges including the umatilla, kiyomi, setom, ortanique, murcott, iyokan, miyauchi, othani iyo, and the king of siam. Temple oranges are favored for their easy-to-peel rind and sweet-tart flavor and are most commonly consumed fresh as a snacking orange. The orange trees also produce monoembryonic seeds, which are seeds that contain genes from both parents, making it one of the most commonly used "mother" trees for citrus hybridization.
Temple oranges are a good source of vitamin C, vitamin A, beta-carotene, potassium, folate, calcium, and fiber. The oranges also contain antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties.
Temple oranges are best suited for raw applications as their sweet, tangy flavor is showcased when consumed fresh, out-of-hand. The oranges are often consumed as a stand-alone snack and can easily be peeled into segments and tossed into grain bowls, smoothies, green salads, and fruit bowls. Temple oranges are also largely used for their juice and zest in baking preparations. The juice can be used to flavor tarts, muffins, and tea bread, mixed into drinks and cocktails, used as a marinade for meat, and cooked into jams, marmalades, and jellies. It can also be used to make ice cream, sorbet, or homemade popsicles. The zest can be used to flavor vanilla cakes, almond cookies, sauces, and cooked vegetables. Temple oranges pair well with yogurt, grilled steak, pork, or poultry, seafood, grapefruit, basil, mint, cilantro, olives, dark chocolate, and vanilla. The fruits will keep 1-2 days at room temperature and 2-4 weeks when stored in the refrigerator.
Temple oranges are often regarded as Florida's favorite snacking orange. Named after William Chase Temple, the owner of the Pittsburgh Pirates and first president of The Florida Citrus Exchange, Temple oranges were widely successful in Florida and provided a balanced, juicy flavor. According to the Florida State Horticultural Society, the Temple orange was introduced and marketed as the "Ten Dollar a Box" orange, competing with the more costly oranges at the time. Temple oranges also held the record in the 1920s for the world’s largest Temple orange grove spanning over 5,000 acres. Parts of this grove later transformed into the University of South Florida and the city Temple Terrace, and the original inhabitants were gifted shares of the grove to help them pay off their property costs.
Temple oranges were first discovered in Jamaica in 1896 by a Florida fruit buyer known as Boyce. After finding the variety, Boyce shipped budwood back to Winter Park, Florida and began cultivating the oranges. Word began to spread around Florida of the new variety, and in 1915 it caught the attention of William Chase Temple, a well-known citrus grower, who then introduced it to a friend at Buckeye Nurseries to help popularize the fruit. Temple oranges were released to commercial markets in 1919 and were named after Temple. Today Temple oranges are still largely known as a Florida citrus fruit, but they can also be found growing in the Coachella Valley of California and in the Caribbean.
Recipes that include Temple Oranges. One is easiest, three is harder.
|Nothing in the House||Grapefruit & Temple Orange Jam|
|Diners Journal NYT||Temple Orange and Olive Salad|