Oranges, Lemons, And Grapefruit
( Originally Published 1913 )
As a refreshing fruit which is at our disposal throughout the greater part of the year, none is more useful than the orange. Both the fruit and the skin can be made use of. The pulp is much developed in some varieties, especially in Messina and Jaffa oranges, but particularly so in the California navel oranges, which are rarely seen in this country (Austria) ; they have a very sweet, rich pulp, but the Sicilian and Palestine oranges are more juicy. I found the Florida oranges very sweet, but the pulp is not so fully developed as in the California varieties. During my stay in these warm climates and in Mexico, I was in the habit of taking every morning—on an empty stomach—several of the wonderfully fine oranges to be had there ; they agreed with me very well. When one should eat oranges can be best learned from the Brazilian proverb:
A Naranja e oura na manhaa, no meiodia pprata e na noite mata. (The orange is golden at breakfast, silver at dinner, and deadly at night.) It is a general custom in America to eat 1 or 2 oranges at the beginning of breakfast; the grapefruit is even more used. This is a glorious fruit, two or three times as large as the orange, and when not fully ripe is rather acid and bitter, but when ripe it is quite sweet, with an agreeable, slightly bitter flavor. This fruit may be bought in Vienna and in the seaport cities in Germany, e.g., Hamburg, but can also be found in Berlin and other large cities. It is especially characterized by a great abundance of juice. It is best eaten when halved—in the skin—the central portion containing the seeds is then cut out and the juice flows into the cavity thus formed. A circular cut separates the pulp from the skin, and a series of cuts are then made toward the periphery, which loosens it from the dividing skin. The juice is eaten with a spoon. This is certainly a very delicious and healthful food, especially in hot climates or on a summer morning before breakfast. It has a very pleasant effect upon a dry throat, and is said to be efficacious in fever in hot climates. Owing to its content of citric acid salts and of acids, it has a beneficial action upon the bowels, especially when eaten in the morning upon an empty stomach. It has the same general effect upon the health and certain disease conditions as the acid and nutrient salt-containing fruits, just as has the orange. The juice o,f the orange contains, according to König, 3.9 per cent. of invert-sugar, 1.93 per cent. of free citric and malic acid, together with 1.39 per cent. of potassium citrate and 0.25 per cent. of calcium citrate.
In regard to medicinal properties the lemon surpasses the two fruits above mentioned. When used as lemonade made with water containing carbonic acid gas, it is very refreshing and may be efficacious in gastric disturbances. The juice is beneficial for the prevention and cure of tonsillitis. It is also much used in gout; for this purpose several lemons should be taken daily. In several instances which have come under my notice, lemon juice seemed to have a favorable effect in tonsillitis. Oranges and grapefruit are especially useful in diabetes because of the very small quantity of sugar which they contain. I usually allow my diabetic patients to eat one or two oranges every day.
According to Darwin and Buffon, monkeys are in the habit of eating lemons when not feeling quite well. Darwin observed several monkeys which had been made drunk on alcohol the previous day. Of all the foods placed before them they ate only the lemons.