28 February 2011

How can you tell if an orange is ripe?

According to the staff at QI, you can't go by its color:
You can’t tell the ripeness of an orange by its colour, no matter where it’s from. If an orange is unpicked, it can stay on the tree until the next season, during which time fluctuations in temperature can make it turn from green to orange and back to green again without the quality or flavour being affected
Another interesting fact is that Alexander the Great artificially colored his hair:
Alexander the Great washed his hair in saffron to keep it a lovely shiny orange colour. During his time saffron was as rare as diamonds and more expensive than gold. 


  1. We do quality surveys of imported fruit, and yes, colour doesn't necessarily indicate ripeness for oranges. Once they're off the tree I wouldn't like to guarantee the taste once "greening" has happened though...

  2. Today I peeled a clementine, and the white stringy stuff inside (what's that called, anyway?) was orange. Like, fake-orange. I think it was dyed.

    I didn't eat it.

  3. Clementines are my favorite snack while watching movies; all the stringy thingies here in Wisconsin have been white.

  4. I always thought the way to tell a ripe orange--or at least, one that has a lot of juice--was by its weight. Same with other citrus fruits. I pick the heaviest ones for their size, and usually they're pretty juicy. Don't know whether juice correlates with ripeness, though.

    --Swift Loris

  5. white stringy stuff is probably albedo ... inside the fruit the technical terms used are pith, albedo and flesh

  6. The part I pull out is the "central column" -


    - which I suppose is an extension of the albedo.

    (interesting that there is also a "flavedo.")

  7. i didn't know that about Alexander the Great. But i think i know where he got his saffron from:




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