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Bitter orange

For the fruit known as "Chinese Bitter Orange," see Trifoliate orange.
Citrus aurantium

Scientific classification
Kingdom: Plantae
Division: Magnoliophyta
Class: Magnoliopsida
Subclass: Rosidae
Order: Sapindales
Family: Rutaceae
Genus: Citrus
Species: C. aurantium
Binomial name
Citrus aurantium

The name "bitter orange" refers to a citrus tree (Citrus aurantium) and its fruit. Many varieties of bitter oranges are used for their essential oil, which is used in perfume and as a flavoring. They are also used in herbal medicine. Other names include sour orange, bigarade orange and Seville orange.



  • Citrus aurantium subsp. amara is a spiny evergreen tree native to southern Vietnam, but widely cultivated. It is used as grafting stock for citrus trees, in marmalade, and in the liqueurs Triple sec, Grand Marnier and Curaçao. It is also cultivated for the essential oil expressed from the fruit, and for neroli oil and orange flower water, which are distilled from the flowers.
  • Seville orange (or bigarade) is a widely-known, extremely tart orange now grown throughout the Mediterranean region. It has a thick, dimpled skin and is prized for making marmalade, being higher in pectin than the sweet orange, and therefore giving a better set and a higher yield. It is also used in compotes and for orange-flavored liqueurs.
  • Bergamot orange, C. aurantium subsp. bergamia is cultivated in Italy for the production of bergamot oil, a component of many brands of perfume and tea.
  • Chinotto, from the myrtle-leaved orange tree, C. aurantium var. myrtifolia, native to Italy
  • Daidai, C. aurantium var. daidai, used in Chinese medicine and Japanese New Year celebrations.

Uses in Cooking

The unripe fruit called "narthangai" is commonly used in Southern Indian food, especially in Tamil cuisine. The unripe fruit is pickled by cutting it into spirals and stuffing it with salt. The pickle is usually consumed with thayir sadam. The fresh fruit is also used frequently in pachadis. The juice from the ripe fruit is also used as a marinade in meat in Cuban cooking. The peel can also become an ingredient in bitters. The Belgian Witbier (white beer) is a beer made from wheat which is spiced with the peel of the bitter orange.

Health supplement status

The extract of bitter orange (and bitter orange peel) has been used in dietary supplements as an aid to fat loss and as an appetite suppressant, although in traditional Chinese medicine, it is always prescribed in concert with other support herbs, not in isolation. Bitter orange contains synephrine, a drug similar to ephedrine, acting as a stimulant (β3 agonist) with a possible risk of ischemic stroke and heart problems.

See also

This article is licensed under the GNU Free Documentation License. It uses material from the Wikipedia article "Bitter_orange". A list of authors is available in Wikipedia.
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