Bitter oranges (that aren't supposed to be bitter!)

cfox248(3)March 24, 2014


so, another question. First off, I love oranges. I get them from the grocer frequently and am debating purchasing a Moro blood orange when it's warm enough for Four Winds to ship to me.

The one thing putting me off is bitter oranges. Going to the supermarket for oranges is always a huge gamble. 50% of the time, the oranges are delicious and perfect. The other 50% of the time they're not! They're often a bit shrivelled inside, and tasteless or bitter. Today I bought some tangerines and I couldn't eat more than 3 slices because of the bitter tang to them. And the worst part is you really can't tell until you bite into them.

Is this just because of how oranges are picked/processed for consumers? I know apples and whatnot are really bad compared to orchard apples just from the way they're grown and handled and packaged for shipping. Is it less common if you grow your own oranges to get bitter oranges? I love oranges, and I'l LOVE to pick my own straight from the tree, but if it's going to be that same 50/50 I might just have to pass.

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Most unusual experience. Are you taking any medications? I ask because some medications will cause foods to taste bitter. Citrus are normally harvested according to color and/or brix (% sugar); and most varieties are sweeter at certain times of the year, or if left on the tree longer.

    Bookmark   March 24, 2014 at 6:07PM
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tcamp30144(7B N.ATLANTA)

Tons better from tree California orange at grocery are still good Florida orange are not as good qnymore because of citrus greening and other Virus the trees in Florida have.

    Bookmark   March 24, 2014 at 6:09PM
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Nope, no meds. It's not just me - most people I know agree that oranges are seriously hit and miss with them either being really juicy and good, or really bland or bitter, sometimes kind of shrivelled up inside. Clementines are usually better, but you get bad batches of those too - and usually when 1 in a box of Clementines is bad, the rest aren't very good either.

Maybe it's because of where I live. I'm in Minnesota, so the oranges have a looooong way to go to get to me, I'm sure they've been off the tree for some time before being sold in stores around here.

    Bookmark   March 24, 2014 at 6:13PM
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Steve, Z (6Bground,5B roof) Cincy,OH

When I saw Zone 3, I assumed that you lived near the sea of Tranquility. It would take a truck traveling at 80 miles per hour about 156 days and of course they would not be worth eating. Living in Minnesota only adds 10 hours over Cincinnati and we get better oranges than I can grow. Your grocer is either incompetent or he is a crook. I let you decide. Any fruit that stops ripening the second it is picked has the potential of having a reliable and consistent taste, as citrus is. There is no EXCUSE for bad tasting citrus unless it is a poncirus trifoliata orange. FIND ANOTHER GROCERY STORE. Another thought is that if you throw out 9 out of 10 oranges because only one taste good, it will be still much easier and less expensive to grow your own. Some people say they like the gardening experience. OK, so grow apples cherries, , blue berries. Don't forget the hardy kiwis and alpine strawberries. How about saskatoons, Blackberries or raspberries, But for gods sake don't waste you time on citrus tree. Even hardy chicago fig is a much better choice.

I will pray that God guides you towards a wise choice on this very important decision.

Best of luck to you. Steve

check out zone 6B

    Bookmark   March 24, 2014 at 6:57PM
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It's not just my grocer. It's all of them, ever, my whole life this is my experiences with oranges - and I've lived all over my state, and gone to everything from cub foods to small mom and pop grocers! (Boy, a sea of tranquility would be nice though). That's why I was a bit sketched out about growing oranges, because my entire life it's been such a gamble to go out and buy some. I just double checked with my roommates to see if they notice the same thing with affirmation. This is the reason my mother doesn't buy oranges - it's not worth it. Now I'm a bit puzzled, judging by your reactions this is totally not the norm, but it is for us! I will have to ask a wider section of people. Take a poll. hmmm......

I think I will order the tree. The thought of all of my oranges being those perfect ripe oranges I get half the time is enough to convince me!

    Bookmark   March 24, 2014 at 7:09PM
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Steve, Z (6Bground,5B roof) Cincy,OH

good luck with your tree. With the long days in spring through summer you'll do great. It is very hard to fight pest in the winter because there are no predatory insects and you can get over run. When I brought my trees in I treated them as if they had a bad infestation of multiple insects. They never got insects. my other plants were devastated though. Be prepared and go for it. your regional supplier is the problem. You should be getting good fruit with slight variations.


    Bookmark   March 24, 2014 at 7:23PM
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krismast(6 S.E. PA)

I've noticed most citrus seems to taste better in the winter and spring. Not sure if this is just because citrus is something tropical to my taste buds in the dead of winter or if there is more going on. Citrus in the summer, besides lemons and limes, seem dry and pithy, with clementines being the worst. I don't even bother buying clementines until around christmas time because they just don't seem to taste good! Not sure if I would ever describe a store bought citrus as bitter, but dry and tasteless? yes. I have a feeling though if you grew your own oranges, they should all taste good.


    Bookmark   March 24, 2014 at 9:25PM
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hoosierquilt USDA 10A Sunset 23 Vista CA(10b Sunset 23)

cfox, my citrus are all excellent. Some years better than others, but none bad. Citrus will taste its best when picked at the proper time, so that's the key with home-grown (and commercial) citrus. Kris, most citrus cultivars ripen in late fall, winter and early spring, other cultivars, such as the Valencia orange, ripen during the summer (March through July). Navel oranges are your typical winter citrus, ripening December through January. So, know the cultivar, and then you'll know when to pick at its "prime time".

Patty S.

This post was edited by hoosierquilt on Mon, Mar 24, 14 at 22:38

    Bookmark   March 24, 2014 at 10:16PM
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Steve, Z (6Bground,5B roof) Cincy,OH

Kris the citrus you are getting in the summer is probably grow in the southern hemisphere during their winter. By the time the container ship gets here they have a lot of handling. There are laws in the US that dictate the standards citrus must pass before picking. They don't have laws like these down there. Buy what is in season for northern hemisphere. It take cold to set up the sugars.


    Bookmark   March 24, 2014 at 11:02PM
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I have three producing kumquat trees and they have hugely different flavors. I think all three are Meiwa since they aren't elongated or sour like the Nagami. The most mature tree has been bearing well for quite a few years now and its fruit are very tasty. The other two trees are still under five feet tall and have a very bland fruit. I wonder if the maturity of the orchard or just the health of the tree is to blame. I had a lime off a tree that has struggled since I bought it and the fruit was almost tasteless. On the other hand, I got a single blood orange from another tree's first fruit and it was delicious!

This post was edited by johnorange on Tue, Mar 25, 14 at 14:39

    Bookmark   March 25, 2014 at 2:35PM
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