Bitter orange, Seville orange, sour orange, bigarade orange, or marmalade orange refers to a citrus tree (Citrus × aurantium) and its fruit. It is native to southeast Asia and has been spread by humans to many parts of the world. Wild trees are found near small streams in generally secluded and wooded parts of Florida and The Bahamas after it was introduced to the area from Spain, where it had been introduced and cultivated heavily beginning in the 10th century by the Moors. The bitter orange is believed to be a cross between the Pomelo, Citrus maxima, and the Mandarin orange, Citrus reticulata.
|Citrus × aurantium|
C. × aurantium
|Citrus × aurantium|
Many varieties of bitter orange are used for their essential oil, and are found in perfume, used as a flavoring or as a solvent and also for consumption. The Seville orange variety is used in the production of marmalade and also used to make French bigarade sauce.
Bitter orange is also employed in herbal medicine as a stimulant and appetite suppressant, due to its active ingredient, synephrine. Bitter orange supplements have been linked to a number of serious side effects and deaths, and consumer groups advocate that people avoid using the fruit medically. It is still not concluded if bitter orange affects medical conditions of heart and cardiovascular organs, by itself or in formulae with other substances. Standard reference materials are released concerning the properties in bitter orange by the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST), for ground fruit, extract and solid oral dosage form, along with those packaged together into one item.
- Nagpur orange is a variety grown in Nagpur, Maharashtra, India. with a sweet and juicy pulp.
- Citrus × aurantium subsp. amara is a spiny evergreen tree native to southern Vietnam, but widely cultivated. It is used as grafting stock for citrus trees, in marmalade, and in liqueur such as triple sec, Grand Marnier and Curaçao. It is also cultivated for the essential oil expressed from the fruit, and for neroli oil and orange flower water, which are distilled from the flowers.
- Citrus × aurantium var. myrtifolia is sometimes considered a separate species, Citrus myrtifolia, the myrtle-leaved orange. A selection known as Chinotto is used for the namesake Italian soda beverage.
- Citrus × aurantium var. daidai, Daidai, is used in Chinese medicine and Japanese New Year celebrations. The aromatic flowers are added to tea.
- Citrus bergamia, the Bergamot orange, is probably a bitter orange and limetta hybrid; it is cultivated in Italy for the production of bergamot oil, a component of many brands of perfume and tea, especially Earl Grey tea.
- Citrus × aurantium subsp. currassuviencis, Laraha, grows on the Caribbean island of Curaçao. The dried peels are used in the creation of Curaçao liqueur.
While the raw pulp is not edible, Seville orange (or bigarade) is a widely known, particularly tart orange which is now grown throughout the Mediterranean region. It has a thick, dimpled skin, and is prized for making marmalade, being higher in pectin than the sweet orange, and therefore giving a better set and a higher yield. It is also used in compotes and for orange-flavored liqueurs. Once a year, oranges of this variety are collected from trees in Seville and shipped to Britain to be used in marmalade. However, the fruit is rarely consumed locally in Andalusia.
The Seville orange—when preserved in sugar—is the principal ingredient in traditional British marmalade, reflecting the historic Atlantic trading relationship with Portugal and Spain: the earliest recipe for 'marmelat of oranges' dating from 1677.[page needed] The peel can be used in the production of bitters. The unripe fruit, called narthangai, is commonly used in Southern Indian cuisine, especially in Tamil cuisine. It is pickled by cutting it into spirals and stuffing it with salt. The pickle is usually consumed with yoghurt rice called thayir sadam. The fresh fruit is also used frequently in pachadis.
The Belgian Witbier (white beer) is made from wheat beer spiced with the peel of the bitter orange. The Finnish and Swedish use bitter orange peel in gingerbread (pepparkakor), some Christmas bread and in mämmi. It is also used in the Nordic glögi. In Greece and Cyprus, the nerántzi or κιτρομηλο, respectively, is one of the most prized fruits used for spoon sweets, and the C. aurantium tree (nerantziá or kitromiliá) is a popular ornamental tree. In Albania as well, "nerënxa" or "portokalli i hidhur" is used commonly in spoon sweets.
In Turkey, juice of the ripe fruits can be used as salad dressing, especially in Çukurova region. However, in Iraqi cuisine, a bitter orange or "raranj" in Iraqi is used to compliment dishes like Charred Fish "samak/simach maskouf", tomato stew "morgat tamata", "Qeema", a dish that has the same ingredients as an Iraqi tomato stew with the addition of minced meat, boiled chickpeas "lablabi", salads, as a dressing, and on essentially any dish one might desire to accompany bitter orange. Iraqis also consume it as a citrus fruit or juice it to make bitter orange juice "'aseer raranj". Throughout Iran (commonly known as narenj), the juice is popularly used as a salad dressing, souring agent in stews and pickles or as a marinade. The blossoms are collected fresh to make a prized sweet-smelling aromatic jam ("Bitter orange blossom jam" Morabba Bahar-Narenj), or added to brewing tea.
In the Americas, the juice from the ripe fruit is used as a marinade for meat in Nicaraguan, Cuban, Dominican and Haitian cooking, as it is in Peruvian ceviche. In Yucatán (Mexico), it is a main ingredient of the cochinita pibil. In Cuba a traditional Christmas time dessert is made with the peel of the bitter orange cooked in syrup and eaten with cheese and buñuelos.
The extract of bitter orange (and bitter orange peel) has been marketed as dietary supplement purported to act as a weight-loss aid and appetite suppressant. Bitter orange contains the tyramine metabolites N-methyltyramine, octopamine and synephrine, substances similar to epinephrine, which act on the α1 adrenergic receptor to constrict blood vessels and increase blood pressure and heart rate. Several low-quality clinical trials have had results of p-Synephrine (alone or in combination with caffeine or some other substances) increasing weight loss slightly.
Similarities to ephedraEdit
Following bans on the herbal stimulant ephedra in the U.S., Canada, and elsewhere, bitter orange has been substituted into "ephedra-free" herbal weight-loss products by dietary supplement manufacturers. Like most dietary supplement ingredients, bitter orange has not undergone formal safety testing, but it is believed to cause the same spectrum of adverse events (harmful side-effects) as ephedra. The U.S. National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health found that "there is currently little evidence that bitter orange is safer to use than ephedra."
Case reports have linked bitter orange supplements to strokes, angina, and ischemic colitis. Following an incident in which a healthy young man suffered a myocardial infarction (heart attack) linked to bitter orange, a case study found that dietary supplement manufacturers had replaced ephedra with its analogs from bitter orange.
This orange is used as a rootstock in groves of sweet orange. The fruit and leaves make lather and can be used as soap. The hard white or light yellow wood is used in woodworking and made into baseball bats in Cuba.
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- Apenas se aprovechará la naranja que se recoja en la capital este año. 20minutos.es.
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- Mayo clinic: article on interference between grapefruit and medication
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to Citrus aurantium.|
- Data related to Citrus aurantium at Wikispecies
- Bitter Orange: Information from the National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health
- Bitter Orange List of Chemicals (Dr. Duke's Databases)