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snopes
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Comment: There has been this rumor going on for I don't know how long that oranges are green and that the orange harvesters put orange dye in the oranges. The orange oranges we see in advertisements such as Florida's natural brand orange juice is nothing more than computer enhancement. I asked myself, why would the harvesters go through all the trouble of dyeing each orange orange and if it were dyed would not some of it bleed? My white shirt has no orange color stains. Later I learned from a friend that oranges are green on the tree but they turn orange as soon as they are picked off and ripened. In addition, oranges may turn orange on a tree if the tree is not getting enough nutrients but the oranges have already matured.

I was hoping you could further help crack the legend concerning whether or not oranges are dyed and where this rumor originated from.

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Salamander
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Wow... and milk comes from milk cartons. Cows don't exist, that is just a conspiracy cooked up by farmers.

I only need to look in my backyard to confirm that oranges are orange. Although they do start life looking rather green. Limes on the other hand are the tricky ones -- they start off green and end up, well... green.

This sounds like a practical joke pulled on gullible city-slickers who have (apparently) never seen a fruit tree before.

I honestly can't believe someone would be so far removed from nature as to believe that.

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sugar cooky
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I've heard this before, too. I tried google, and several pages mentioned the same thing- that some oranges are dyed, and are labeled as such.

From wholehealthmd:

http://www.wholehealthmd.com/refshelf/foods_view/1,1523,59,00.html

Skin color is not a good guide to quality: Some oranges are artificially colored with a harmless vegetable dye (this is permitted in Florida, but not in California or Arizona), while others may show traces of green although they are ripe. Florida oranges are likely to be slightly greenish, while California oranges are usually a true orange color. Through a natural process called "regreening," the skins of ripe oranges sometimes revert to green if there are blossoms on the tree at the same time as the fruit. This is because the tree produces chlorophyll to nourish the blossoms, and some of the pigment may be taken up by the mature fruit. Oranges that have "regreened" may actually be sweeter because they are extra-ripe.

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senshisteph
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If oranges are green, why are they called oranges?

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Tantei Kijo
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quote:
Originally posted by senshisteph:
If oranges are green, why are they called oranges?

Because of the inside?

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domina
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It's worth noting that the color was named after the fruit -- it ultimately comes from Sanskrit naranj, meaning "fragrant." So obviously, oranges back when the English first became aware of them (in the Middle Ages, I think) were orange. And yeah, I used to have an orange tree in my yard and they were definitely orange.
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Joseph Z
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Eww...Food Poisoning our Oranges with dye?

I thought Oranges were Oranges because of their age.

Such as Bananas start Green but then become Yellow and Black upon riping to rotten.

Just as apples turn mushy and black.

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RealityChuck/Boston Charlie
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The dyeing of the oranges is not really the growers choice. Consumers usually think that if an orange is green, it's not ripe. So in order to give the public what it thinks it wants, the orange growers will use dye to cover up the green.

If people outside of Florida knew that oranges could have green on the skin and be perfectly ripe, the growers wouldn't bother with the trouble and expense of dyeing them.

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Rhiandmoi
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They can also do an ethylene treatment for degreening, which I think is the preferable method if my teachers weren't lying to me. Since I have never been fortunate enough to work in the industry I don't really know what is done in practice.

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Joseph Z
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What's funny though is that the TV Commercials of Florida, all the oranges on the tree are already orange before they even snap it off the limb.

But then how can anyone go up the hundreds of acres of trees and paint them all orange? That would take months of hours accumulated to dye them.

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Joseph Z

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MacLloyd
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I remember the first time I went to Florida. My dad managed a few orange orchards. He took me out to see them and there were all these trees loaded with mostly green oranges. I asked him when the would be ripe so we could pick some and make some just. He just laughed, pick one, tore it open and gave it to me. Dang if that wasn't the best tasting orange I had ever eaten!

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Cervus
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We've been growing oranges and other citrus for 35 years. They're best in December and they do turn orange, although it's not the bright orange that you see on TV or in the stores. I always figured that bright orange color (and the size) you see in store fruit came from being sprayed with fertilizers and/or pesticides, which my father does not use.

Normal oranges, tangerines, and tangelos are green when they first appear and then they ripen to a dull orange while still on the tree. If you leave them on the tree they'll fall off after they turn orange or get eaten by wildlife. If you leave them on the tree too long they'll also get soft and start to rot.

It is probably in the best interest of the citrus companies to pick fruit before it completely ripens on the tree. That way they can control the ripening conditions and prevent product loss. All oranges are green before they ripen, so if you drive by a grove at certain times of the year, all of the orange trees will have green oranges. A few weeks later, especially after a 50 degree cold snap, is the best time to pick them, when they're just turning orange.

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asnakeny
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quote:
Originally posted by Cervus:
We've been growing oranges and other citrus for 35 years. They're best in December and they do turn orange, although it's not the bright orange that you see on TV or in the stores. I always figured that bright orange color (and the size) you see in store fruit came from being sprayed with fertilizers and/or pesticides, which my father does not use.

Normal oranges, tangerines, and tangelos are green when they first appear and then they ripen to a dull orange while still on the tree. If you leave them on the tree they'll fall off after they turn orange or get eaten by wildlife. If you leave them on the tree too long they'll also get soft and start to rot.

It is probably in the best interest of the citrus companies to pick fruit before it completely ripens on the tree. That way they can control the ripening conditions and prevent product loss. All oranges are green before they ripen, so if you drive by a grove at certain times of the year, all of the orange trees will have green oranges. A few weeks later, especially after a 50 degree cold snap, is the best time to pick them, when they're just turning orange.

Yup. I had an orange tree in my backyard back when I lived in Coral Gables, FL. In the winter time, the oranges would turn orange (not bright day-glo, but more of a faded orange-mixed-with-tan color) and we would then pick them and give them to the local families for use in their Three Kings Day feasts. (It was actually a sour orange tree.)

That was until Hurricane Andrew decided the tree looked better 50 feet into our neighbor's backyard in a horizontal position...

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Cervus
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A Floridian who moved back to New York! You're a rarity, asnakeny! [lol]

Welcome to the boards.

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"There is no constitutional right to sleep with endangered reptiles." -- Carl Hiaasen
Won't somebody please think of the adults!

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Jason Threadslayer
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quote:
Originally posted by Tantei Kid:
Because of the inside?

Why would they be called orange because of the inside?

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Cervus
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Jason, that picture's of a rotten orange.

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"There is no constitutional right to sleep with endangered reptiles." -- Carl Hiaasen
Won't somebody please think of the adults!

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Troodon
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Aren't there oranges that are red on the inside? That may just be rotten, but it may be a red variety (not enough detail to tell).

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Cervus
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The only citrus I know of that's red on the inside is grapefruit - I'm not saying I'm familiar with all varieties of oranges, but that is not a normal color for an orange. It looks almost purple, which would be an indication to me that it is rotten.

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"There is no constitutional right to sleep with endangered reptiles." -- Carl Hiaasen
Won't somebody please think of the adults!

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Giselle
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Blood oranges have a very deep red almost purple color to them, maybe thats one?

eta: Blood Oranges

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Jason Threadslayer
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quote:
Originally posted by Cervus:
Jason, that picture's of a rotten orange.

GisElsa is right, that's a blood orange (moro to be precise). The blood orange is the type of orange most popular in Sicily.

ETA: Blood oranges are in season in the spring.

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MacLloyd
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Blood oranges are also very tasty. Kids love 'em (especially if you hype up the 'gross' factor).

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Panda_Marie
The Red and the Green Stamps


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quote:
Originally posted by Salamander:
This sounds like a practical joke pulled on gullible city-slickers who have (apparently) never seen a fruit tree before.

I honestly can't believe someone would be so far removed from nature as to believe that.

Not to come off as a snot in my first post or anything, but that statement has been bothering me.

I am in no way a "city-slicker", nor am I "removed from nature". Infact, I live in an area where I can't get away from nature. However, had someone told me that oranges were indeed dyed to look more orange, I would say that it would be plausible.

How can this be, you may ask? Simple. I've never been to Florida. I've never been to any place that grows oranges. I can't say that I have ever encountered an orange tree, though I have seen my share of OTHER fruit trees/bushes.

Just thought I'd stick up for those of us in the Great White North.

Panda "Say ya to the UP, eh?" Marie

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Jacob's Child
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I also live in in the "great white north", so tropical fruit here is all imported and I've never had the chance to see it "au naturale".

Anyways, I've discovered after much trial and error that the best tasting oranges here between Dec-Feb are actually semi-to-mostly green in colour and are very small in size. The huge brightly coloured oranges in the farmers markets usually are dry and devoid of taste.

Judy

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Panda_Marie
The Red and the Green Stamps


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quote:
Originally posted by Jacob's Child:

Anyways, I've discovered after much trial and error that the best tasting oranges here between Dec-Feb are actually semi-to-mostly green in colour and are very small in size. The huge brightly coloured oranges in the farmers markets usually are dry and devoid of taste.

Judy

Oooh...thanks for the tip. I've noticed that about the larger, brightly colored one's myself. I figured it was true of all oranges because of the season or something.

Panda "saved from scurvy" Marie

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