Jaffa Oranges (also known as Shamouti Oranges) were first developed in the mid-19th century by by Arab farmers in the vicinity of Jaffa. These small, sweet oranges have little to no seeds and while their thick skins shield the fruit well when exported, it’s also very easy to peel. The rinds of Jaffa Oranges are deep orange in color and they do not produce as much juice per fruit than other orange varieties, making the commonly-used export sales slogan “You can always tell a Jaffa by its juice” somewhat confusing.
(image via: Made-In-Israel)
The growth of commercial steamship lines in the wake of the Crimean War provided an immense boost to Jaffa Orange growers since their fruit could be on sale in Europe within days of its being shipped. Exports increased from 200,000 to 38 million oranges between 1845 and 1870! Unlike colonial-overseen cotton farming, for example, Jaffa Orange farming was controlled and organized locally and for much of its history was a mutually profitable, equal-opportunity endeavor between Jews and Arabs; Israelis and Palestinians.
(image via: WebEcoist)
For most of its history, the creation of new types of oranges has been a hands-on activity much dependent upon random, natural mutations. No more! Huang Ah-hsien of the Taiwan Agricultural Research Institute set out to develop the world’s largest orange and after 15 years he’s declared the effort, er, fruitful! The so-called King Orange is about the size of an adult person’s face and was created through the selected and directed hybridization of carefully chosen Japanese and American oranges. Bigger isn’t always better, but according to the Taiwan Agricultural Research Institute the jumbo juicer “offers majestic overtones of sweet and sour citrus flavor.” Looks like we’re gonna need a bigger Orange Bowl.