Chinese Bitter Orange
Inventory, lb : 0
|Mud Creek Ranch|
The leaves of the Chinese Bitter orange tree are compound and grow in threes. The trees are known for their intertwined branches that are adorned with long sharp thorns. Prior to fruiting Chinese Bitter Orange trees produce white, citrus scented blossoms. The fruits are round with a downy exterior and turn from green to yellow orange when ripe. The inner flesh of the Chinese Bitter orange is extremely juicy and has a bitter, sour lemon flavor with Earl Grey nuances.
The Chinese Bitter orange is available in the late winter and early spring months.
The Chinese Bitter orange botanically known as Poncirus trifoliate is a close relative of true citrus and a member of the Rutaceae family. Also known as Hardy orange and Trifoliate orange the Chinese Bitter orange is a deciduous tree, meaning it has leaves that fall off seasonally, a characteristic that sets it apart from true citrus varieties. Though not commercially successful as a fruit, the root stock of the Chinese Bitter orange is commonly used today in production of other varieties of citrus.
Similar to the Seville orange, the exceptionally tart juice of the Chinese Bitter orange makes it unsuitable for use as a fresh eating orange. Its rind can be candied or dried. It also makes an excellent orange for use in making marmalade. The rind and juice of the Chinese Bitter orange can be utilized in juices and cocktails. The zest can be used in jams, dressings and sauces. When dried the rind can be made into a powder and used as a seasoning.
The Chinese Bitter orange was popularly used to make jams and jellies by early American colonists due to the natural pectin the orange contains. In China the Bitter Orange has long been used to make a seasoning and as a medicine in treatment of typhoid, colds, toothache, conjunctivitis and itchy skin.
The Chinese Bitter orange is native to Northern China and Korea where it has been growing for thousands of years. From there it made its way to Japan and Europe and later to America in colonial times. In addition to providing fruit the Chinese Bitter orange tree was commonly used as a security hedge or as a means of corralling livestock as result of its twisting, thorn laden branches. Its botanical name comes from the French, Poncirus (meaning citron) and trifoliate (meaning three leaves). The genus Poncirus is monotypic, meaning it only contains one species.