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Citrus fruits

Category: Food



Introduction and description

Citrus is a common term and genus (Citrus) of flowering plants in the rue family, Rutaceae.  Citrus fruit has been cultivated in an ever-widening area since ancient times and the trees are now to be found worldwide in warmer countries.

The term citrus covers a number of fruit and each is described with its own entry on the site.  This section has been included to enable us to point to the relevant sections with their observations, but also to enable more generic observations to be recorded that apply to citrus fruit in general or a type for which we have no entry:

  • Satsumas and

These plants are large shrubs or small to moderate-sized trees, reaching 5–15 m (16–49 ft) tall, with spiny shoots and beautiful deep green shiny leaves.  The flowers are “solitary or in small corymbs, each flower 2–4 cm (0.79–1.57 in) diameter, with five (rarely four) white petals and numerous stamens”.  What makes the citrus family so special, however, is the perfume of the flowers which is glorious, enough to transport anyone to a better world.

The fruit is what is called a ‘hesperidium’, a type of berry.  The rind or "peel" [called a pericarp] has an outermost layer which is edible and called the zest. The zest of many citrus fruits has as many health giving properties as the juice, as such recipes that call for rind and juice are of particular interest medicinally.

Oranges were historically used for their high content of vitamin C, which prevents scurvy [caused by vitamin C deficiency, and prevented by having 10 milligrams of vitamin C a day]. An early sign of scurvy is fatigue. If ignored, later symptoms are bleeding and bruising easily.

But gradually researchers are beginning to realise that citrus fruits, along with most other berries, are a sort of superfood medicinally helping with all sorts of illnesses and acting as a preventative in others.  The observations for each fruit show the research being done and their findings, but it is worth mentioning that citrus fruit intake is associated with a reduced risk of stomach cancer.

Also, citrus fruit juices have been shown to be efficacious in lowering the risk of specific types of kidney stones. Grapefruit has been used to lower blood pressure and lemons have the highest concentration of citrate of any citrus fruit, and daily consumption of freshly made lemonade has been shown to decrease the rate of kidney stone formation.

Related observations