Bitter oranges, also known as Seville, marmalade, or sour oranges, are closely related to the oranges you are probably used to. They look just like sweet oranges, except for having a thicker skin, with more dimpling.
They are commonly used when a stronger orange flavor is required, such as in marmalade, essential oil, bitters, and pickling. The leaves and fruit also can produce lather, so they can be used as soap. As found with sweet and mandarin oranges, they are full of vitamin C, and therefore are amazing for your immune system.
What Are Seville Oranges?
Seville oranges are the variety of bitter oranges that I’m familiar with. Like the sweet orange, Seville oranges are a cross between the pomelo and mandarin orange. They have a stronger sour and bitter flavor, due to it being more acidic, and containing more essential oil.
Because of the flavor, they aren’t normally eaten, but are used for cooking purposes, especially in Britain, where it makes the immensely popular marmalade.
Where Are Seville Oranges Grown?
They are native to southeastern Asia, and then spread with the Moors until it reached Europe. After being cultivated in the Spanish city of Seville, the Spaniards brought it with them to St. Augustine, Florida, and across their colonies in the Americas.
It is now commonly found wild all over Florida, the Bahamas, and other Caribbean islands.
Where to Find Seville Oranges?
I got my basketful of oranges off of a tree that is in my yard. Since it’s mostly grown for making marmalade and essential oils, it is hard to find in your average grocery store. Since it grows wild in the southern US, especially Florida, and parts of the Caribbean, Central America, and South America, if you live in these areas, check your local farmer’s markets in early spring, or check near streams in wooded areas for wild trees.