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Dec 19, 2007 02:57 PM

ever had "green" oranges from Latin America?

I have a friend that just sent me some pics from Columbia of some strange little oranges he found. Apparently, they exist in Latin America, but I've never seen or heard of them, and I'm terribly curious as to what they are. They're oranges--bright orange inside, but the rind is dark green, more like a lime. Almost like a cocktail grapefruit, but an orange instead of grapefruit. Any ideas what it could be? What are they called? I've never seen them, even in little Mexican markets here in LA...

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  1. Could you tell from the photos what size they were? Limes in central america have vividly bright orange flesh, from Costa Rica then south.

    1. The green, knarly oranges oranges that we use in Patzcuaro for juicing are terrific. I don't know the variety, but they are prevalent in the mercado. The juice is very sweet and not too acidic. The oranges are smallish and in most supermarkets in the US, they would be thrown out.

      14 Replies
      1. re: Pampatz

        I think the natural colour of many oranges, even when ripe, is a greenish one. The bright orange ones we see in U.S, and Canadian supermarkets have been dyed or otherwise treated.

        I had a similar experience in Jalisco last winter to that of Pampatz in Patzcuaro. The local store sold oranges that they bought from nearby farmers. They just dumped them on a table marked as costing the equivalent of about 20 cents a kilo. You took what you wanted and the clerk weighed them. They were greenish - at that price, why bother to dye them - but were bright orange when cut open. They made far better juice than any Tropicana container or Minute Maid frozen can.

        1. re: ekammin

          I live in California. The oranges in my backyard and every tree I see are bright orange and not green. Though I do know that sometimes supermarket oranges are dyed.

          1. re: rworange

            where did anyone get the idea that supermarket oranges are dyed? i grew up in florida with florida oranges, and they are orange -- no dye needed, thank you!

            from the usda standards for oranges:
            "§51.1098 Well colored.
            "Well colored" means that the fruit is at least light orange in color, with not more than a trace of green at the stem end, and not more than 15 percent of the remainder of the surface of the fruit shows green color."

            btw, my bil in southwest florida has a lime tree that has green limes with bright orange flesh! an exotic in sw fla, certainly....

            1. re: alkapal

              I think there is confusion here... I worked for an Agri Biz that runs California's largest citrus packing house... and one thing they have is a de-greening room where they pump some kind of gas & it turns the (early picked) oranges from green to orange. In spending time with the Marketing folks and people from the "S" marketing coop... I never once heard anything about dyes being used.

              With that sad... like most produce in the U.S. it has been bred to look good & taste like crap. On the flip side... in Mexico people care less about the appearance of some produce like oranges, than with flavor & texture.

              BTW... those Green Oranges are Valencias... they naturally grow in various shades from greenish (but the underlying color is still orange)... to reddish-orange.

              1. re: Eat_Nopal

                florida oranges are bred to look good and taste like crap? not true, by any hyperbolic stretch....

                1. re: alkapal

                  1) I live in California... what is this Florida you speak of =)? There are obviously zero Florida oranges here... well maybe in some juice brands (not particularly impressive though)

                  2) Taste like crap was an obvious exaggeration... the less cynical statement would be that Big American Ag in conjunction with Big American Retailers agree to sell produce that consistently sacrifices taste for appearance (size, lack of blemishes, color etc.,)

                  1. re: Eat_Nopal

                    The reason why you don't see Florida oranges in California (or Texas, Arizona, Alabama, or any other state that produces commercial citrus) isn't a quality issue. It's a USDA rule to try to prevent the spread of a couple different types of cirtus tree parasite/diseases that have become unfortunately common in some sections of central and southern Florida.

                    The tangerines in my front yard this year did have some rather greenish/unimpressive rinds, but the taste was excellent.

              2. re: alkapal

                No, actually Florida oranges are more likely to be dyed than California oranges ...

                "Don't Rely on Color: Color is not a good indication of quality; color depends on the climate where the orange was grown. Cool nights, such as those in California, produce orange oranges.

                With warm nights found in Florida, oranges may be tinged with green. Under certain growing conditions the ripe fruit will begin to turn green again-and may actually be sweeter. Some Florida oranges may have a vegetable dye added to the skin to enhance their appearance. If so, "Color Added" must be stamped on the shipping container or affixed to the crate."

                1. re: rworange

                  i have never seen such a thing! i am going to inquire of the florida citrus board.

                  as to the quotes on color, i think they would be talking about very limited circumstances...

                  edit: ok, i have just emailed the florida citrus people. will post back.

                  1. re: alkapal

                    here is the response re whether color is "added" to oranges via dyes, as suggested upthread -- or otherwise -- that i got from the director of grower affairs for the florida citrus people:

                    " We have a product in the state that we use to enhance the natural color on some of our very early fruit. These could be Tangerines or Navels maybe even some Tangelos. This is not dye but a product as I stated before that more or less brings out the natural color. This does not penetrate the peel or the meat of the citrus in any way. As far as fruit being picked green there is one variety that matures very early and can be shipped green and also orange. That is the Satsuma they were first grown in Florida and around the Louisiana border but as the weather turned colder they are mostly grown down here now. When they are shipped green they are called emerald mandarins. Even though they are green the taste is excellent even better when they turn color.

                    We sometimes pick fruit that has a green tint to it due to the lack of cool weather in the state. [....], when that happens we put them in a de-greening room and just help the coloring process along with a little heat and humidity. Remember that all fruit and juice in Florida has to be packed and shipped to exact USDA standards, they have to make juice maturity, color and outside appearance quality. [....] A lot of people say our fruit is not as pretty as California fruit, we don’t have the same growing conditions as they do but it is what's under the peel that counts!"

                    So, no dyes used!

                    sounds like the ripening "product" is ethylene gas....

                    and this link is very interesting regarding fresh produce ripeners, spoilage delayers, etc.

                  2. re: rworange

                    If "color added" is only on the shipping container or crate, chances are the consumer will never see the notification if the oranges are displayed loose in the market. The container is long gone.

                    1. re: rworange

                      I think "re-greening" is natural to all types of oranges. After being picked and fully ripe, it's not unusual for the bright orange skins to turn back to green in places. Doesn't have any impact on the sweetness of the fruit.

                      But I doubt this has any relationship to the fruit the OP talks about.

                    2. re: alkapal

                      I grew up in Florida ( a long long time ago) and in fact we were shown a film in grade school which DID show some color being applied to green oranges. This may be an old practice that is no longer used now.

                      And yes, our oranges in California turn orange on their own, thanks.

                      1. re: mlgb

                        i also grew up in florida. i missed that film. glad that practice has been abandoned -- i'm guessing for quite a while.....

              3. These are wonderful, minimally hybridized oranges without the dye treatment to make them look like 'oranges.' I first saw them in the Zona Rosa in Mx City at a cart where a woman was squeezing them into tall glasses - 50 cents per - ivy-green skin, blindingly orange flesh, and the most intensly flavored juice I have ever had.

                Sad, but they're just oranges ... without the touch of You're so right about Sonora-style tortillas de harina. In the old days, a woman could be famous in her barrio for her flour tortillas: the gold standard was that they should be so thin you could read the newspaper through them, and so big in diameter that they'd cover a dining room table. I knew a woman who could make tortillas de harina just that way--she was certainly famous to ME!

                Your trip (at least the eating part) sounds absolutely marvelous. Thanks again for sharing all the food details with us. If I ever get up north, Hermosillo is tops on my list for great food.


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                cristina Dec 02, 2007 07:33PM

                1. french roast, there is an incredible variety of citrus fruit here in Colombia, including oranges with bright orange flesh and dark green skins. These are much more acidic/tart than US Navels or Valencias.

                  ekammin, our family grew oranges and peaches in the Central Valley of California. Oranges were orange and were never dyed.

                  theabroma, the citrus you find are more likely traditional crosses rather than hybrids. It is uncertain what "minimally hybridized" might mean.

                  4 Replies
                  1. re: Sam Fujisaka

                    Sam, those oranges you describe (bright orange flesh, dark green skin), are they small, like a large, round persian lime? 2 1/2-3" diameter? what is their name, if you know? are they native in Colombia? Feliz navidad, tambien.

                    1. re: alkapal

                      Yes, about that size. Don't know the name, if they have a special name. Gracias...y feliz ano nuevo.

                      1. re: alkapal


                        Is this what you were looking for? We ate them in Panama where the were called 'mandarin limes.' Calamansi (Citrofortunella mitis) are also known as Chinese orange, Philipine orange, Panama orange, or golden lime. We rarely even saw Persian limes, only these.

                      2. re: Sam Fujisaka

                        I'm living in the Caribbean and like you've noted in Columbia, Sam, there is a huge variety of oranges here, too. Big and fat, small, thin-skinned, thick-skinned, smooth, bumpy, sweet, very sweet, sour... about the only thing they seem to have in common is that they're all green!
                        They're all just locally called, in English, oranges or tangerines, except for the sour ones, which are called sour oranges.

                      3. It could also be a dalandan:


                        I've never had a fresh one, just some dalandan candy, but now I want a whole tree.

                        3 Replies
                        1. re: typetive

                          That's the same thing as the "Philippine orange," Panama orange, China orange, etc. etc. (!) It seem to have about a million names. They are good but no substitution for a lime when you need a lime...

                          1. re: TimeMachine

                            I've had calamansi, dalandan and ponkan and they're all definitely distinct. Though I'm sure local variations may account for that.

                          2. re: typetive

                            That's it!! That's exactly what I saw. Thank you so much! Dalandan it is.