Dried Orange Slices: Flavor Profile
The sweet orange is one of the world’s favorite fruits. In fact, it’s the most commonly grown citrus tree in the world. Dried orange slices are created from the fruit. They’re naturally dehydrated or oven-dried, and the dried slices have many culinary uses.
Use dried orange slices to provide a bold, sweet citrus flavor to teas. The dried slices also work well in stewed glazes, for spicing small batches of summer ale, and many people eat them raw. The texture is slightly chewy, and the taste, a more refined sweetness. In a pinch, you can use peels as a sit-in for orange zest, as well.
Dried Orange Slices: Common Uses
Dried orange slices have been a popular treat for many years in the U.S. When eaten raw (with a dash of powdered sugar!), the slices are a flavorful treat. Yet, used whole, they deliver a fresh, citrus burst to many different dishes, including marinades, teas and sugary sauces. A few common uses include:
- Marinades – Whole orange slices provide a complex citrus flavor (as well as plenty of acid) to any marinade. The fruit pairs well with chili peppers, and they can be added whole or chopped. Not only do you get the sweetness, but the peels provide a refreshing hint of bitterness.
- Glazes – When sautéed in sugary and stewed sauces, orange slices melt flavor out, helping to create a rich, complex citrus taste.
- Teas – Most people add them directly to any cup of tea, or create their own tea blends using sliced oranges.
- Potpourri Blends – Orange slices are commonly found in a range of potpourri blends because of their pungent sweet orange aroma.
History of the Sweet Orange
The sweet orange – as opposed to the bitter varieties found in the Mediterranean – has a long history in commercial cultivation. The fruit originated in China. Chinese fruit growers bred pomelos – a green, pear-shaped citrus – with sweet mandarin oranges, and the result was the sweet orange that we know today.
Recent genetic analysis has shown that today’s oranges are about 55% mandarin (where it gets its sweetness), and 45% pomelo (the source of its tanginess). The fruit was distributed to Europe and the Mediterranean around the 8th Century, thanks to the Moors.
In Spain and Italy, the sweet orange quickly became a popular fruit. In fact, aristocrats highly prized the orange, which became a status symbol on the continent. Many European aristocrats built complex orangeries – orange orchards – including King Louis XIV.
The French king – who also popularized pepper – was an orange connoisseur. He planted one of the most extravagant orangeries in all of Europe at the Palace of Versailles.
In the Americas, sweet oranges were introduced by Christopher Columbus. It’s believed he planted orange trees in Hispaniola on his second trans-Atlantic voyage. And the Spanish introduced the fruit in Florida in the 1500s, and later in California.
Today, the major of the oranges grown are closely related to the oranges that were bred in ancient China. More than two-thirds are common orange varieties, including the popular Valencia and Navel varietals.
The orange tree is actually quite beautiful. The tree is an evergreen species that thrives in temperate climates with even temperatures in the 60- to 90-degree range.
The orange tree is the most widely grown fruit tree in the world. It grows to about 30 feet, with some varieties growing to as tall as 50 feet, and has vibrant green alternating leaves. Prior to growing the fruit, orange trees blossom; their flower is a white-pinkish flower that’s very aromatic.
In the U.S. Florida and California are the two most important producers of the fruit, along with Texas and Arizona. Most of the oranges grown in the Florida, though, are used to make juice, while oranges grown in western states are cultivated for eating.
About Our Oranges
Burma Spice sources oranges from California’s Central Valley. The valley is one of the world’s most important agricultural regions, and it produces a majority (75%) of California’s orange crop. Valencia and Navel oranges are two of the most widely grown varietals in California.
We work with small family-owned citrus farms to get our oranges, with are mostly sweet, juicy Valencias.