A true Florida classic, the temple was named after the first president of the Florida citrus exchange and native Floridian William Chase Temple. Temple oranges are known for being easy to peel, extremely aromatic, distinct in color, as well as sweet and tangy at the same time. Temple oranges are thought to be identical to the magnet orange in Japan.
The seed of the temple orange was believed to be discovered by a fruit buyer by the name of Boyce. He went to Jamaica in 1896 to buy oranges; this was after a really cold winter in Florida. After finding it, he sent the bud back to Winter Park, Florida. Word began to spread quickly about the new find. One was planted in the grove L.A. Hakes, who then spread the word to W.C. Temple. Temple then recommended it to H.E. Gillett, the owner of Buckeye Nurseries. The orange was then named, propagated and marketed in 1919. It wasn't until after 1940 when it began to be planted extensively. Temple oranges, also known as Tangor, are hybrid citrus fruits. They're hybrids of the mandarin orange and the sweet orange.
The mandarin orange is a tangerine- this is how Tangor came into play. The name Tangor is a combo of tangerine and orange. There are all sorts of varieties of the temple oranges. There are:
King or King of Siam
Murcott, or Honey Murcott, Murcott Honey Orange, Red, Big Red
Ortanique, which are found in Jamaica - name comes from Orange, Tangerine and Unique
Umatilla or Umatilla Tangelo
Then there are the temple oranges from Japan, including:
Iyokan, also known as sweet oranges
Miyauchi Iyo, has an early ripening
Othani Iyo, has a later ripening
Kiyomi, Trovita navel orange
The peel of the temple oranges are between deep orange and deep red. The peel is glossy and a bit rough and thick, almost like leather. You can find about 20 seeds in the temple oranges. The tree it blossoms in is thorny and bushy, and grows better in Florida than Texas and California. Oranges are the United States third most popular fruit, yielding only to apples and bananas, but that's not their only claim to fame. Oranges blossoms are pungently sweet and the scent is commonly used in colognes, perfumes and soaps.
When buying oranges look for firm round oranges, shiny skin and of course heavy for there size. The heaviness is an indication that the orange is full of juice. Some green in oranges may be acceptable. When oranges are left on the tree to ripen they may take on some of the chlorophyll used by the tree. This will only strengthen the sweetness of the orange.
After you get your oranges home they can be kept in either the refrigerator or on the counter. Oranges well keep well for up to two weeks. Avoid extra moisture when storing oranges and never store oranges in plastic bags; this will encourage growth of mold.
Oranges contain a range of nutrients that encompass more than just vitamin C. Oranges contain foliate, fiber, antioxidants, potassium, thiamine calcium and magnesium. It is estimated that one orange can provide as much as 2/3 to all of the daily requirements of vitamin C.
So enjoy these great winter temple oranges because by the beginning of March they are gone for the season.
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