Orange You Glad It's January?

Oranges bring a warm sweetness to the dreariest winter day. They are full of good things: vitamins, minerals, and fiber. Some oranges are used to make juice while others are eaten just as they are.

Where Do Oranges Come From?

When we think of oranges, we think of sunny places, such as Florida, California, Spain, and Brazil. But oranges were not originally (oranginally?) grown in those places. A long time ago, the first oranges grew wild in China and India. The word orange comes from a Sanskrit word--naranga. The first oranges to travel to Western countries about 1,000 years ago tasted sour. Five hundred years later, sweet oranges made their way to Europe.

East Coast vs. West Coast

Cover to Oranges in JanuaryHave you noticed that the orange juice people always talk about Florida oranges, but California oranges are the ones people like to buy to eat? These oranges taste differently because of where they are grown, and they are also different types. Florida gets more rain than California, and most of its oranges--a kind called valencia--are juicier. California's navel oranges are a different type. They have a thicker peel and are much easier to eat because they are more segmented (break apart more easily) and have no seeds. But their juice becomes bitter quickly so they are not a good choice for your morning orange juice.

Things to Do:

Make Your Own Orange Juice
The stuff you squeeze yourself is fresher and tastier than store-bought. It just takes a little muscle and a simple juicer, available at most stores, or you may have one already at home. Remember to choose the juicier oranges for this. Trying to squeeze juice out of a navel orange is a waste of a good eating orange!

Orange and Clove Pomanders
Wonderfully scented, traditional crafts. So, if it's January, tie bright, red bows around them for Valentine's Day! These smell amazing.

Orange Smoothie Recipes
Smoothies are a great way to get a haealthier treat.You'll find 110 delicious recipes here. Just check with your grown-up about making these.

Books That Feature Oranges

Annoying Orange. 1, Secret Agent Orange by Mike Kazaleh
Secret Agent Annoying Orange goes up against the purple color-stealing mastermind Grapefinger.

A Gift of Gracias: The Legend of Altagracia by Julia Alvarez
After their olive crop fails, Maria fears that her family will have to abandon their farm on the new island colony. Then, one night she dreams of a mysterious beautiful lady shrouded by trees with branches hung with hundreds of little suns. They are oranges like the ones Maria's parents once ate in their homeland, Valencia, Spain. That very day Maria and her family plant the seeds that soon yield a magnificent orange grove and save the farm. But who was the mysterious lady who appeared in her dream and will Maria ever find her again?

How Did That Get to My Table? Orange Juice by Pam Rosenberg
A juicy fruit -- Oranges grow in groves -- At the factory -- From the factory to your table.

One Day and One Amazing Morning on Orange Street by Joanne Rocklin
The last orange tree on a Southern California street has a magic of its own.

An Orange in January by Dianna Hutts Aston
An orange begins its life as a blossom where bees feast on the nectar, and reaches the end of its journey, bursting with the seasons inside it, in the hands of a child.

Oranges by Inez Snyder
Cover to Three Golden OrangesIntroduces the orange, from the time it begins to grow from a seed until it is sold in a farmer's market.

The Perfect Orange: A Tale from Ethiopia by Frank P. Araujo
A generous girl is rewarded for her gift to the ruler of a single, perfect orange.

The Three Golden Oranges retold by Alma Flor Ada
The way to true love lies through an orange grove for Matias, but will his two scheming brothers ruin everything? This retelling of an old Spanish folktale is a terrific choice for reading aloud.