Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Navel Oranges: neat little fruits

We went to the grocery store the other night, and it was having a sale on "Navel Oranges:" (2) 5 lbs. bags for $5.00 (Tropicana.) We decided to pick up two bags.  If ever there was a time of year for an extra boost of Vitamin C, it'd be now. 

I'll admit.  I never put much thought into Navel oranges until the other day when I looked into them.  Besides being yummy, here are some interesting facts about them (I type this as I chomp down on a succulent wedge!)

1. All Navel oranges are seedless which means they are sterile.  Basic science tells us that plants need seeds to grow, and fruit is generally produced by those seeds.  How do Navels grow then?  Cuts from the Navel tree are spliced and grafted onto other orange trees in order to produce the fruit.

2. Because splices have to occur, it could be said that Navel oranges are clones of the original Navel oranges that came into existence nearly 200 years ago! All Navel oranges, technically, come from the original tree.

3. You may have noticed another little surprise when you peel a Navel orange: a piggyback mini-orange on the bottom.  Because of this piggyback, the bottom of the Navel orange looks like a human navel...which is how the orange got its name.

4.  If you visit Riverside, California, you can see a "parent Navel tree" ( that is responsible for bringing Navel oranges to California, the state that supplies the rest of the nation with most of the Navel oranges.

I bet you didn't realize these neat tidbits when you grabbed a Navel orange for snacking. 

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