Foamy and creamy Julius orange. A popular drink since the 1920s. Originally, a simple orange juice stand in Los Angeles was owned by a struggling businessman named Julius Freed. One of his customers came up with a drink that would reduce the acidity of pure orange juice by adding milk, egg whites, and a little sweetener, then shaking. Thus was born the Orange Julius drink, which was an instant hit, turning Mr. Freed’s boring juice booth into a bonanza. (You can only hope that the customer who created it got a percentage.) Now owned by Dairy Queen, the drink remains basically the same.

Oranges date back to 2500 BC. C. in China and are the most cultivated fruit tree in the world. Between the 10th and 15th centuries, oranges appeared in Spain and southern Italy thanks to busy trade routes. In the mid-17th century, King Louis XIV of France ordered a vast orange grove to be planted on the grounds of the Palace of Versailles. (When those French kings liked something, they wasted no time.)

Spanish explorers probably brought oranges to the Americas and Mexico sometime in the 16th century, and they traveled as far as Florida and Southern California during the following century. Clearly, those two states dominate the US citrus market, due to their ideal climates. Although the British sailors were nicknamed “Limeys”, it is more likely that oranges were the preferred passengers on ships, as they provided vitamin C and fruit to the crews. Valued around the world, both the popular Valencia and the Navel orange are inexpensive, have a long shelf life, and provide nutrition for people of all ages, and their juice remains the number one breakfast preference. Real trees and fruits have been mutated and grafted for centuries to achieve the desirable fruit we know today. In the United States, 60% of the orange crop is grown in Florida with a current value of 1.17 billion. Internationally, 71 million tons of oranges were produced in 2015, led by Brazil with 24%, followed by China and India.

In Spain and Italy, meanwhile, blood oranges, named for their red-fleshed color, were commonplace since the 15th century, but they arrived late on the US market, reaching a minimum in popularity during the last few decades.

During his trips to France, the president of foodies, Thomas Jefferson, became familiar with the orange and undoubtedly shipped the fruit from Florida while residing in Monticello and enjoyed it in season, along with jam for breakfast. (Not much was lost in the fruit department.) While he did not grow orange trees in his own orchards, he planted fake orange trees for their fragrant flowers.

With the invention of refrigerated shipping and railroads, oranges became a huge commercial crop and the demand has increased every decade. Americans love their oranges in many different ways:

Creamsicles: first appeared in 1923 from the Popsicle Company, refreshing orange sorbet and vanilla ice cream bar;

Orange Sorbet – A frozen dessert similar to a sorbet but contains a small amount of milk solids to give it a creamier texture, by far the most popular flavor;

Orange juice and fresh oranges, peeled and consumed sliced ​​or cut; in its simplest form;

Orange Juice Drinks – Usually made with a small amount of juice or flavoring, lots of water, and sugar;

Cranberry Orange Bread – Your basic quick orange blueberry bread, also muffins;

Orange-flavored candies: jellies, hard, jelly beans, gummies, the most popular flavor for many candies, including chocolate covered orange peel; (Remember Chuckles? Which flavor did you have first?)

Orange Soda Pop: Orange Crush, the first carbonated orange soda, launched in 1911, followed by Fanta Orange, which originated in Germany as a substitute for cola in 1940, and Sunkist, the three best-selling brands;

Orange marmalade: discovered by the Greeks and Romans, first made with quince and honey, it differs slightly from other marmalades by using the rind of the fruit; the British and Scots have been eating jams since the 18th century;

Sunkist, Minute Maid, and Tropicana: giants in the orange juice, citrus-flavored soft drink, and other industry;

Orange Chicken – Hunan’s popular Chinese chicken dish with chicken pieces breaded, fried, and topped with a sweet orange sauce;

Duck a l’Orange: Those French chefs don’t miss a trick; roast duck with orange sauce, fit for a king;

Although oranges share the citrus market with their close cousins, lemon, lime, and grapefruit, their sweetness sets them apart. They take their place among the five favorite American fruits and are no longer just for breakfast. That Julius guy. It sure started something.