THE GOLDEN APPLE. BITTER ORANGE
The smell of orange blossom that surrounds and characterizes the city of Seville is easily recognisable. It defines the Andalusian capital and it gives Seville its identity.
The orange trees are one of the most abundant trees in the Sevillian countryside. Its fruits and foliage are responsible for the brightness and light of its green meadows.
When talking about the history of oranges, it is inevitable to talk about the tree of the golden apples.
According to Greek mythology, bitter oranges have always been linked to the region of Andalusia, especially with its capital.
Hercules, founder of Seville according to Greek legends, was entrusted by the king of Tirinto, Euristeo to perform 12 different works. These tasks included different trips to various remote places.
The eleventh task was to bring down the dragon Thief to get the “Golden Apple” of the Garden of Hesperides in Northern Africa, linked to oranges by its bright colour which was believed to grant immortality. During the battle, Hercules fed on oranges, which gave him enough strength to fulfil the mission.
Beyond mythology, the history of oranges is based on their adaptability to different climates and terrains. This citrus, originally from Asia, was considered as a symbol of happiness and necessary to reach the state of spiritual and physical satisfaction.
Thanks to the attraction and interest that this fruit produced in Genoese sailors and merchants, oranges were introduced into Europe through the Silk Road. After that, and with the aim to achieve the desired happiness, the Arabs planted thousands of them throughout the south of the peninsula.
In the 12th century, the well-known “Patio de los Naranjos” was built, which is currently located inside the Cathedral of Seville, inheritance from the Almohad mosque.
Admired by the beauty of its bright fruits and attracted by the unique smell of its flowers, the orange plantations amounted to more than five thousand in 1970. In this way and despite its Asian origin, bitter oranges have become one of the most representative trademarks of the Andalusian capital.
THE SCENT OF SEVILLE
As time goes by, numerous cosmetic and medicinal properties of bitter oranges were discovered. Moreover, the Arab tradition and passion for fragrances focused on the smell of orange blossom.
Due to all of this, the interest in bitter oranges increased exponentially and more trees were planted.
However, not only the flowers of the bitter orange tree Citrus × aurantium, are used in the creation of fine fragrances. In the sector, essential oils and absolutes extracted from its leaves, branches and fruits are also highly appreciated. An olfactive family named Orange has been created to group the different essential oils obtained from bitter oranges or biragade.
Leaves and branches:
- Petitgrain essential oil: It is obtained by distillation of its leaves and branches. Its green and fresh aroma is rounded with citrus and herbal notes.
- Petitgrain Absolute: It is obtained from Bigarade leaves and branches by extraction with volatile organic solvents. Its scent is composed of green and herbaceous notes with honey, woody and subtly aromatic accords.
- Neroli essential oil: This precious essential oil isobtained by distillation of flowers. Its essence, which evokes light and clarity, is floral and fresh.
- Orange blossom absolute: Orange blossom absolute is one of the most appreciated raw materials in the world of perfumery. It is extracted from the flowers of bitter orange using volatile solvents. Its heady aroma of white flower is easily recognized for its animal, sweet and warm notes.
- Bitter orange or bigarade essential oil: It is obtained by cold pressing extraction. This method consists in extracting the oil by scraping the skin of the fruit. Its characteristic scent can be described as citrus and sparkling with zesty notes, making it sweet and intense.
Bordas is a pioneer in the distillation and extraction of aroma chemicals and essential oils from plants from the Mediterranean Arc such as rosemary, thyme, cistus, lavender, clary sage…
THE CITRUS FAMILY:
FROM FIELD TO TABLE
The citrus fruit family is composed of:
All of them are representative of the Southern of Spanish. Citrus fruits are widely used as ingredients for food and beverage manufacturing.
For example, citrus peel is used to make infusions, jams, candies, confectionery products and to give a natural sparkling touch to some alcoholic cocktails.
The pulp is the combination of mash, pieces of the fruit and even the peel. In Bordas, after more than 70 years dedicated to the production of fruit derivatives, specifically citrus fruits, the separation of the peel and seeds to obtain the pulp is carried out by manual and industrial processes. For this, the suitable fruit is selected regarding its optimal size and state of maturation.
One of the applications of the pulp is the production of jams and marmalades, although it is also used in the preparation of ice creams, smoothies, juices, salad toppings, sweets and confectionery products, as well as purees and many others.
In Bordas, we manufacture custom-made products, according to the bespoke characteristics of each client and their needs.
Among the products we produce are Fresh Fruits, Natural Juices or NFC and Concentrates, Candied, Cells, Comminute, Peels and Slices cut in different sizes, Dehydrated derivatives, Pulps and Purees.
PEELING THE CITRUS
Citrus fruits are rich in nutrients and other ingredients with multiple recognized benefits for human and animal health. They are known to have a large quantity of vitamins such as vitamin B and C, also pectin (natural dietary fibre that preserves stable sugar levels and protects the body from stomach problems). They are also an important source of minerals and natural bioflavonoids.
Bioflavonoids are biologically active polyphenolic compounds naturally found in the peel and pulp of some citrus fruits. Each of these fruits contains a composition and proportion of bioflavonoids characteristic of its type, which gives it specific properties and benefits.
Neohesperidin is a whitish crystalline powder with a sweetening capacity of up to 1800 times greater than sucrose, making it ideal to use as a tabletop sweetener or in the composition of soft drinks, alcoholic beverages and confectionery such as desserts, ice cream and dairy products, chewing gums and other jelly beans, oral hygiene and pharmaceuticals products.
It also has other organoleptic properties as a masker of bad flavours and enhancer of these which are highly sought-after.
As far as the animal feed industry is concerned, this product leads to a reduction in the animals ́ feed intake time due to its pleasant taste.
Another flavonoid present in orange bigarade is the Citrus Bioflavonoid Complex. This yellowish-brown powder comprises 45% of flavonoids and has a very characteristic bitter orange flavour.
In the food, beverage and animal nutrition industries, it is widely used as a natural flavouring and preservative agent. In addition, thanks to its antimicrobial, antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties, it is incorporated into formulations of nutraceutical supplements and human and animal health products.
On the other hand, Sweet orange (Citrus sinensis) naturally contains two other bioflavonoids: Diosmin and Hesperidin.
Diosmin is a grey-yellow or light-yellow flavonoid, key in antioxidant and anti-inflammatory mechanisms. Known for its cardioprotective effect, it is used in the pharmaceutical industry to treat symptoms related to venous insufficiency such as capillary and vascular fragility, the relief of swelling and tired legs as well as migraines and haemorrhoids.
Hesperidin is a beige powder that thanks to its cardioprotective effect and antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties, is combined with diosmin to produce synergistic effect in the treatment of vascular diseases. Additionally, it is used in combination with vitamin C in dietary supplements.
Another citrus that contains many flavonoids is Grapefruit (Citrus paradisi). Naringin is a light-yellow powder flavonoid responsible for the bitter citrus fruits so appreciated for the formulation of carbonated drinks and bakery and confectionery products.
Similarly to the rest of the flavonoids, it has antioxidant, anti-inflammatory and antimicrobial properties. In addition to having a cardioprotective effect, this bioflavonoid promotes thermogenesis. For all of these reasons, Naringin is incorporated into supplement formulations in certain diets for weight loss.
In the food and animal welfare industries, this flavonoid is deemed worthy of attention to increase the palatability of feed products.
Without any doubt, the bitter oranges of Seville are our most demanded product, although thanks to our tradition, savoir-faire and commitment to our customers, the market has positioned us as leaders in the manufacture and export of conventional and organic fruit derivatives.