Citrus fruits have been domesticated by humans since at least 4000 BC.
As opening lines go, the above isn’t really a catchy one, but it is the truth. As I’ve company visiting me this week, catchy will have to take a back seat for a while.
“Citrus” is a common term, covering a vast array for plants in the family Rutaceae. The weird thing is, the citrus you and I know today, probably didn’t exist back in the day. For example – The Navel orange was a bud sport from an orange in Bahia, Brazil, which was introduced into southern California in 1871. In 1913, the pink grapefruit cultivar was discovered. The Blood Orange has come onto the scene only within the past 100 years. The citrus fruits that most of us take for granted are simply decendants of a very few select fruits.
The best information we have indicates that the following were most likely the first citrus fruits that humans had domesticated:
- Citrus maxima, aka the pummelo (Malaysia)
- Citrus medica, aka the citron (India)
- Citrus reticulata, aka the mandarin (China)
I’ll over more of these details soon enough. Over the next few weeks, I’ll be covering and researching the citrus fruits. Recipes and tips and hints and other such stuff will be (ahem) on the menu.