Algarvean Oranges - The Sweet Taste Of Sunshine

Posted by Marianne Hoesen on Sunday, June 21, 2015 Under: food and drink


In the middle of the winter, when nature is asleep in the northern part of Europe, the evergreen orange trees bear fruit and it seems like a million Christmas trees with bright orange balls are decorating the rural Algarve. Absolutely breathtaking!  If you drive through the western Algarve in early springtime and open your car window, the scent of the flowering orange trees tickles your senses. This lovely perfume is one of the nicest aromas I know.

the former capital of the Algarve, is now considered to be the capital of the oranges in Portugal. One of the reasons for the top quality "laranjas" here is that there is a good infrastructure for irrigation, due to the Arade dam, but the most important reason is the many hours of sunshine in this area. That is why the oranges from the Algarve, and especially from the Silves region, are so full of sweet juice and loaded with vitamine C.


Oranges probably originated from China and were already cultivated there since 2500 BC. They were brought to Europe in the late 15th century by Portuguese merchants. In some countries the fruit still carries a name that reminds us of that. For instance in Greek an orange is called "portokali".
The Algarve region produces on average between 250,000 and 300,000 tonnes of oranges each year. Everybody visiting the Algarve will see lots of stands selling oranges on the road sides. They are very cheap here and taste lovely!  And if you cannot eat or juice them all, here is a special recipe for orange cheesecake with cardamom.


Now a question:  what came first, the name for the fruit or the name for the colour orange?  The name for the fruit was first. The fruit was called "apple from China" in some languages, such as in German (Apfelsine) and in Dutch (sinaasappel or appelsien).  The English were the first to name the colour orange in 1512.

I found some interesting facts on oranges that I would like to share with you:
  • The sweet orange is the fruit of the Citrus sinensis.
  • It is nowhere growing in the wild, because it is a hybrid between a pomelo (25%) and a mandarin (75%)
  • All orange trees are grafted
  • Orange trees need lots of sun, water and moderate temperatures (15.5 - 29 degrees C)
  • Every part of the fruit is edible
  • Oranges are loaded with vitamine C and a lot of other goodies
If you are so lucky to have lots of oranges around, here are a few ideas on what to do with them:
  • Orange Peel Kindling -  due to the high content of flammable oil in orange peel, dried peel makes a great firestarter or kindling.
  • Peel, sigment and freeze them -  They are wonderful partially thawed in fruit salad with yogurt or to be used in other recipies.
  • Marinade - Marinate and cook pork shoulder or tenderoin in fresh orange juice. Mmmmmm.
  • Zest your oranges and cover with wodka. Let sit. Delicious Orange Extract (works for lemons, too).
  • Substitute orange juice for a portion of the vinegar in a salad dressing – a great way to add a slightly sweet flavor and to balance the taste of the vinegar. 
  • Make an orange curd, but instead of a lemon curd. Just lower the sugar by a third.
  • Orange peels can be candied to make a deliciously, zesty treat. You may dip one end in melted chocolate......

In : food and drink 

Tags: algarvean oranges  oranges portugal  oranges silves 

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About Me

Marianne Hoesen Born in the deep south of The Netherlands, I moved to the central Algarve in 2007, together with my partner and 2 dogs. In the meantime we added some goats and chickens and are living a peaceful life in the rolling hills of the rural south of Portugal. I invite you to read a bit in my blog and to leave a comment afterwards. Also check out the holiday accommodations mentioned elsewhere in this website.


Algarve Portugal
café Portugal, bica
Esteva, rock rose, Algarve
sun, beach, Algarve
real cork real wine
beach Algarve
folklore dance Algarve
chicken piri piri

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