Don’t Be Bitter… Orange


It’s the time of year here for the “Seville Oranges” to be harvested. There are more than 14,000 bitter orange trees lining the streets and plazas of Sevilla. They outnumber every other tree in the city and have been around Sevilla for centuries. It’s said the Moors began to cultivate them here in the 12th century. Some trees in Spain are said to be over 600 years old.

The other morning, while we enjoyed our café con leche and tostadas downstairs at El Sanedrín, a work crew arrived and began to trim the trees and box up the oranges on our plaza. The same business is going on all around town. Then the oranges are shipped off to make marmalade.


Now we can look forward to the pungent fragrance of the orange blossoms that begin to bloom in March. It will bring back sweet memories of Southern California. We were overwhelmed with the fragrance our first spring in San Diego when we drove into the hills past the orange orchards, with the car windows down. Some years later, we sat by the pool on warm spring nights in Palm Springs and breathed in the citrus-laden air from the trees we had planted behind the hotel. I’m told the entire city of Sevilla fills with the scent. Too bad I can’t do a “scratch-n-sniff” blog post.

Author: Moving with Mitchell

From Brooklyn, New York; to North Massapequa; back to Brooklyn; Brockport, New York; back to Brooklyn... To Boston, Massachusetts, where I met Jerry... To Marina del Rey, California; Washington, DC; New Haven and Guilford, Connecticut; San Diego, San Francisco, Palm Springs, and Santa Barbara, California; Las Vegas, Nevada; Irvine, California; Sevilla, Spain. And Fuengirola, Málaga..

37 thoughts on “Don’t Be Bitter… Orange”

  1. I will think of you and Jerry as I prepare the oranges to make marmalade – and oh how I wish you could make it a scratch and sniff blog when the blossom appears. The trouble is you have set my tastebuds off, I really want some orange marmalade right now.!

    1. Elaine: One of my favorite sweets (other than chocolate) is orange marmalade… Or does it count as a fruit? Yes, I'm sure it counts as a fruit. Just like Froot Loops. And chocolate WITH orange marmalade? That's heaven. Maybe that's why I moved here…

    1. Nubian: I've been told there are several "best" months to visit. But, yhe smell of orange blossoms would definitely be a tie-breaker. As for the best marmalade, I guess I have some research to do!

  2. Having been raised in a citrus-free zone, these photos are hard to imagine…..oranges falling from the 'sky'! Just unheard of in these parts! lol
    Mitch, you must figure out a way to 'box' that fragrance and share with us! It's only right!

  3. There are others of us in the world watching dogs poo on the street you know! Do you have to make us this jealous 🙂
    What a wonderful sight.

  4. Hi Mitch:
    Here is the thing: sour orange juice make the best marinade. If you can get some add garlic, salt and oregano and soak the steaks overnight. If you can grill them over a charcoal fire so much the better.
    thought you should know because here in South Florida they are a rare and valued ingredient.
    There is another place where citrus trees of all kinds are grown in the medians, sidewalks – Paraguay.
    saludos papi guapo

    1. Raulito:
      Have you mistaken me for someone who cooks?!? But, well, I'm going to share this with Jerry because it does sound really delicious. And, ja! Am I papi quapo or are you?

  5. What a wonderful sight to see! Oh, what I'd give for a bagful of those. They make the BEST marmalade and I love to make marmalade. You can only get sweet oranges here, there are one or two people who grow bitter oranges in NZ but they don't grow them commercially and it's a major mission to get hold of them!

    What happens if a local picks some oranges to make their own marmalade? Is that allowed? It looks like there are plenty to go around.

    1. Judith:
      I've never seen anyone loading up a bag (I don't think that would go over very well), but tourists have been known to pick one or two … and then eat a bit thinking it's going to be sweet. It's very entertaining.

  6. Oh to be there…orange is our favourite scent and it's a great cleaning agent(just thought I'd add that)…ohh to have some Seville orange in the world!

    1. Sophie/Ron:
      I used to use orange oil on the wood furniture — but I bought it and didn't make it myself. That would be like cooking. All this talk of marmalade has got my mouth watering. I might need to have some mañana!

    2. I'm going to ask our friends today if there's one in particular they recommend. (We're meeting for a little snack in a couple of hours… after siesta.)

      And, yes, despite the Dowager Duchess's warnings about crossing one's eyes, they did NOT stay that way!

    1. Ur-spo:
      The best kitchen candles I ever had were "pink grapefruit" from Williams-Sonoma. I love that fragrance.

      We've got a neighbor with a lemon tree in her rooftop garden. No grapefruits.

  7. Orange 'ya glad I didn't leave you another riddle? Har…

    But seriously, folks. It must smell wonderful when the blossoms are out. I'm looking forward to photos!

  8. Last year, I was following the blog of an English lady who lives near Blackpool. She blogged about how hard it was to get Seville oranges and learned there were some just arrived at the greengrocer. She had rushed to get some and spent three days making orange marmalade to last the year. I was confused over what was so special about Seville oranges, but now I know! That's why American-made marmalade is so disappointing. Thanks for the education and the terrific pictures (as always).

  9. Stopping by from Ms. Sparrow's. Love the pictures. I was in Southern Spain last year at this time and had a wonderful time. Thanks for the memories.

    1. Buttercup:
      Thanks so much for stopping by! Any friend of Ms Sparrow's…

      And now I can't stop singing the song "I'm Called Little Buttercup" from HMS Pinafore!

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