Ever see a green-tinged orange and wonder if it means the fruit isn’t ripe yet? The FruitGuys asked one of its citrus farmers, Emily Ayala of Friend’s Ranch in Ojai, CA (growers of the fabulous Pixie tangerine and other citrus fruits), to explain why citrus greening happens.
According to Emily: “Fruit grown in warmer [climates] doesn't develop a deep orange color and sometimes keeps some green on its skin. Cold nighttime temperatures cause citrus to show deep orange color, and when the weather warms up again in late spring and early summer, the citrus tends to regreen."
The green is due to chlorophyll produced on the peel of orange citrus to protect itself from sunburn. The green color has no impact on flavor—in fact, some growers believe that citrus with regreening can have more sugar than deep-orange fruit. Regreening can also be caused by the position of individual fruits on the tree—fruit tucked in among the leaves tends to have more green, as it's trying to maximize its reach for the sun’s rays. Chlorophyll is vital for photosynthesis, which allows fruit to absorb energy from sunlight.
Next time you see an orange or tangerine tinged with green, give it a try! Let us know if it tastes any sweeter to you.
If you have a fruit question you'd like to ask The FruitGuys, please email us at email@example.com.