Vitamin C is one of the most important nutrients to maintain our immune system, especially during rainy season. The first thing that comes into our mind when talking about vitamin C is probably an orange.
In Indonesian, oranges are often referred to as ‘jeruk,’ regardless of the species. There are jeruk purut, jeruk nipis, jeruk bali, jeruk keprok, jeruk mandarin, and many other types. However, these fruits go by different names in English. On this article, we will discuss the many, many types of citrus fruits, the genus which oranges are a part of.
1. Sweet orange (Citrus × sinensis)
This species is what we refer to as an orange. It is a hybrid of pomelo and mandarin orange. It is sweet, relatively easy to peel, and it has only a few seeds, if not seedless. It has a spherical shape.
2. Mandarin orange (Citrus reticulata)
A mandarin orange is generally smaller than a sweet orange. It has a sweeter and stronger flavour and is often less sour. The rind is easy to peel and the fruit is often flat on the pole (oblate).
3. Pomelo (Citrus maxima or Citrus grandis)
The largest citrus fruit of the family Rutaceae. It is 15-25 cm in diameter and is a natural (non-hybrid) type. It is considered as the ancestor of grapefruit and many other hybrids. Native to Southeast Asia, a pomelo has a thick rind, which probably requires a knife to peel, and white or pinkish flesh. The one with white flesh is usually sweeter than the one with pinkish flesh. Inside the rind, there is a membrane that is chewy and bitter. It is what’s known in Indonesian as ‘jeruk bali.’
4. Grapefruit (Citrus × paradisi)
Grapefruit is a hybrid of sweet orange and pomelo. The colour of the flesh varies from pale yellow to dark pink. It is generally smaller than a pomelo, with 10-15 cm in diameter, more sour or bitter. Native to the Barbados, it grows in grape-like clusters, which is probably why it is named grapefruit.
5. Tangerine (Citrus x tangerina)
A hybrid of mandarin with some pomelo contributions, a tangerine shares a lot of mandarin features that sometimes it is hard to differentiate them. It is sweeter, smaller, and less-rounded than a sweet orange. When it is ripe, it could be slightly soft.
6. Clementine (Citrus × clementina)
Another one that carries a lot of mandarin orange traits is clementine. The exterior is glossy and the rind is easy to peel. Juicy and sweet, it is less acidic than a sweet orange. A clementine is generally smaller than a tangerine, thus earning it the commercial name ‘cuties.’
7. Blood orange (Citrus × sinensis)
A blood orange is considered a natural mutation of a sweet orange, which is probably why it goes by the same Latin name. The flesh of this fruit is blood red and the taste is a mix of an orange and a raspberry. As it originated from Europe, it is hard to come by in Southeast Asia.
8. Tangelo (Citrus × tangelo)
This variant got its name from tangerine and pomelo. Also known as honeybells, the fruit is juicy and has a tart and tangy taste.
9. Bitter orange/Seville orange/sour orange/bigarade orange/marmalade orange (Citrus × aurantium)
Having sour and bitter taste, this type of citrus is rarely eaten fresh and is more commonly used in cooking or liqueur (a type of liquor that requires additional flavours from fruits, herbs, or nuts).
10. Bergamot (Citrus bergamia)
Bergamot is a probable hybrid of lemon and bitter orange. It is the size of an orange with dark green to yellow exterior similar to a lime. The extract of bergamot is often used to add scent to food, perfume, and cosmetics.
11. Yuzu/yuja (Citrus junos)
Yuzu (Japanese) or yuja (Korean) is native to East Asia. The fruit looks somewhat like a small grapefruit with an uneven skin, and can be either yellow or green depending on the degree of ripeness. It has various uses, from culinary to skincare. Have you ever heard of yuzu bath or yuja skincare?
12. Kumquat (Citrus japonica)
Kumquat closely resembles an orange in color and shape but is much smaller, being approximately the size of a large olive. The fruit is often eaten whole with its peel and sometimes is a part of a fruit salad.
13. Citron (Citrus medica)
Citron is a large fragrant citrus fruit with a thick rind. It is one of three natural citrus fruits (the other two being mandarin and pomelo) from which all other citrus types developed through natural or artificial hybridisation. It has culinary and medical uses.
14. Lemon (Citrus limon)
Lemon is native to South Asia, primarily Northeastern India. Lemon juice is used for culinary and non-culinary purposes throughout the world. The distinctive sour taste of lemon juice makes it a key ingredient in drinks and foods such as lemonade and lemon meringue pie.
There are several species of citrus trees that are called limes, including the Key lime (Citrus aurantiifolia), Persian lime, kaffir lime, and desert lime. Limes are sour and sometimes bitter, often used to accent the flavours of foods and beverages. In Indonesia, the most popular one is probably ‘jeruk sambal’ or ‘jeruk limau’ (Citrus amblycarpa), whose fruits and leaves are often used in condiments.
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