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Fascinating Facts about Seville Oranges

Bitter orange trees in Seville

Posted by on 05 Mar 2020 , in Europe

Did you know that there are approximately 20,000 orange (azahar) trees lined up along Seville’s narrow streets? Believed to have originated from Southeast Asia and brought to Spain by the Moors in the 10th century, these ornamental, orange trees outnumber every other species of tree in the city of Seville.

It is an attraction in itself! And even better, the fruits are free for anyone to pick.

But if it’s free, then why do you think most of them are left in trees, or on the ground, waiting to be swept away by street cleaners, you say? Try biting into one and you will find out.

They’re not called “Seville Bitter Oranges” for nothing. They are not your normal “table” oranges designed for eating. The fruits are so bitter that they’re not suitable for juicing.

Seville’s oranges are normally used to make marmalade. The English love them so much that the best marmalade in the world were made using Seville bitter oranges—you can buy them in England. Other uses are primarily medicinal (apparently good for weight loss!) and its blossoms can be turned into perfume.

One of the best times you can visit Seville is after the harvest (late February to late March), when the orange trees are in full bloom. You can walk along the streets adorned with orange blossoms and smell the beautiful scent as it permeates the air.

I would definitely go back around this time just for the experience!

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