The orange is a citrus fruit. The main variety found in Messinia is the Maltaise. Other varieties include Citrus sinensis ‘Navelina’ and the naval orange or Merlin variety. Oranges are handpicked when their color and size indicates that the ratio of sugars to acids is 7:1. In the past, oranges were very expensive and were mainly consumed on special occasions such as Christmas. The development of transportation and the methods of food processing and production made oranges more affordable and widely accessible.
Oranges are high in carbohydrates and carotenoids, like β-carotene, which strengthens the antioxidant defense of cells. Furthermore, oranges are also rich in lutein and zeaxanthin, substances with possible beneficial effects on eye health. They also contain flavonoids, such as anthocyanidins, which contribute to good brain function. Oranges are a very good source of vitamins A and C as well as selenium, which eliminates free radicals and strengthens the antioxidant defense of the body. Oranges can cause a mild allergic reaction, especially in the oral cavity.