Texas Sweet Oranges
Inventory, 113 ct : 0
Texas Sweet oranges are medium to large fruits, varying in size depending on the specific variety, and generally have a round, oval, to ovate shape. The peel is thin, smooth, and lightly textured, pebbled with small glands that release fragrant essential oils, and are bright orange to yellow-orange with maturity. Texas Sweet oranges are also known to sometimes contain “tropical beauty marks,” which are patches of superficial scarring due to the strong Gulf winds. These markings do not affect the quality of the flesh. Underneath the surface, there is a very thin, white, and spongy rind that connects into membranes that divide the flesh into 10 to 12 segments. The flesh ranges in color from bright orange, orange-yellow, to dark orange and is tender, aqueous, and soft, encasing a few cream-colored seeds. Texas Sweet oranges contain low acidity, contributing to the fruit’s sweet, fruity, and subtly tangy flavor.
Texas Sweet oranges are available in the late fall through the spring.
Texas Sweet oranges is a general descriptor used to encompass many different varieties of oranges from the Rutaceae family grown in the Lower Rio Grande Valley in Texas. The Rio Grande Valley, locally referred to by Texans as “the Valley,” is a flat, fertile region with sandy, loam soil, a warm climate, and an ample water supply from the Rio Grande River. The Valley is located near the border of Texas and Mexico, and over ninety percent of the oranges grown in Texas are cultivated in the Rio Grande Valley. Within this region, early, mid-season, and late-season oranges are grown for a consistent supply, and the majority of Texas Sweet oranges are varieties of round, navel, and blood oranges. The citrus industry in Texas ranks slightly behind California and Florida in volume, but the region is globally known for producing thin-skinned, juicy, and low acid fruits developed from the Valley’s unique soil composition and warm, humid climate. In the modern-day, Texas Sweet oranges are shipped worldwide and are preferred for fresh eating and juicing.
Texas Sweet oranges are an excellent source of fiber to regulate the digestive tract and vitamin C, an antioxidant that reduces inflammation, strengthens the immune system, and increases collagen production within the skin. The fruits also contain potassium to balance fluid levels, folate to produce genetic material, and thiamine to maintain optimal nervous system functioning.
Texas Sweet oranges have a succulent, juicy, and tender flesh best suited for fresh eating and juicing. The rind can be easily peeled, and the flesh can be consumed straight, out-of-hand, or segmented and tossed into green and fruit salads. The flesh can also be chopped into salsa, juiced into salad dressings, pressed and mixed into fruit juices, cocktails, tea, and sparkling beverages, or blended into smoothies. In addition to fresh applications, Texas Sweet oranges can be juiced and used to flavor tarts, cakes, and muffins, simmered into jams, jellies, and marmalades, or cooked into sauces and poured over roasted meats, grain bowls, and desserts. Texas Sweet oranges pair well with herbs such as parsley, rosemary, sage, and mint, nuts such as almonds, pecans, and walnuts, vanilla, maple syrup, radicchio, jicama, radishes, avocados, strawberries, cranberries, seafood, and meats such as poultry, turkey, and beef. Whole Texas Sweet oranges will keep 3 to 4 days when ripe and stored at room temperature. The fruits will also keep for 1 to 2 weeks when stored in a plastic bag in the refrigerator.
In Mission, Texas, the Texas Citrus Fiesta promotes the many citrus varieties grown in the Rio Grande Valley through a series of beauty pageants, parades, and theatrics. The annual event was created by Mission resident Paul Ord and the Young Men’s Business League in the early 20th century to raise awareness for the growing Texas citrus industry. The Texas Citrus Fiesta has been held in January for over 87 years, and the first fiesta honored the father of the Texas citrus industry John H. Shary, a businessman who helped establish the Rio Grande Valley through the construction of irrigation canals and by building the first commercial citrus packing facility. Shary also resided in Mission, Texas, with his family and was considered a local celebrity. Throughout the festival’s history, the celebration traditionally included live music, parades, and a crowning of the King Citrus and Queen Citrianna, selected from industry leaders and model citizens within the town. In the 1930s, the festival made national headlines as female pageant contestants were showcased swimming in a sun-ladened pool full of grapefruits in the winter, while most of the United States was covered in frost and freezing snow. In addition to the pageant, the festival also hosts a costume show, first held in 1932, with outfits made entirely of produce from the Rio Grande River Valley. Fruits, vegetables, and leaves can be sliced, used whole, blended, dehydrated, or pulverized to construct Avant-Garde fashion looks.
Sweet oranges are native to subtropical to tropical regions of Asia and have been growing wild since ancient times. The fruits were spread to Europe and Africa in the early ages, and Spanish explorers planted oranges throughout the New World during the 15th and 16th centuries. Oranges were first recorded in Texas in the 1880s at Laguna Seca Ranch in Hidalgo County, located within the Lower Rio Grande Valley, a region in Southern Texas along the Texas-Mexico border. In the 20th century, more orange trees were imported from Asia to establish orchards within the Rio Grande Valley. The region became fully recognized for citrus production when businessman John H. Shary helped extend the Intercoastal Canal into the valley for better irrigation. The unique climate of the Rio Grande Valley has contributed to the sweet and juicy nature of Texas Sweet oranges, and today, almost all of the citrus produced within the state is grown on land within the region, mainly Hidalgo County, Willacy County, and Cameron County. Texas Sweet oranges are sold domestically across the United States and exported to other areas of North America, Asia, and Europe.
Recipes that include Texas Sweet Oranges. One is easiest, three is harder.