CLOSE
Original image
Scott Bauer, USDA

Know Your Citrus

Original image
Scott Bauer, USDA

As winter approaches, you might notice that peaches and plums are disappearing from the produce aisle, and berry prices are going through the roof. But look! The new citrus fruit is here to give us a taste of the tropics in time for the winter holidays. Citrus fruits all belong to the genus Citrus, and can be hybridized with each other. The citrus fruits we know were developed from just a few that occur in the wild, including citron, pomelo, and mandarin. The variety of citrus fruits we encounter at the grocery store in the winter months are mostly hybridized from those species and their descendants.

Citron

Photograph by Johann Werfring.

Citron (Citrus medica) is the citrus fruit that gave “citrus” its name. Records of the fruit go back thousands of years in Mesopotamia, although its origin may be India or Southeast Asia. Citron is more temperature-sensitive than other commercial citrus grown in the U.S. but flourishes in South America and the coastal areas of the Mediterranean. Americans are mostly familiar with citron as a candied ingredient in fruitcake, made from the fruit’s peel.

Pomelo

Photograph by Forest & Kim Starr.

The pomelo (Citrus grandis) is the largest of all citrus fruits. They can grow up to nine inches in diameter and weigh over four pounds! Pomelos are native to Southeast Asia, but are gaining popularity worldwide. They appear green or yellow when ripe, and the flesh is white or shades of pink. The taste is like a sweet grapefruit, and in fact, grapefruit is sometimes called pomelo and the pomelo is sometimes called Chinese grapefruit, although they are different fruits.

Mandarin

Photograph by Flickr user Lotte Grønkjær.

The mandarin (Citrus reticulata), or mandarin orange, is one of the oldest citrus fruits, and the ancestor of many other fruits we know. It is a small, sweet-tasting orange originating in Southeast Asia. Mandarins are also distinct from oranges in that they are easy to peel. It has some close relatives that are sometimes hard to distinguish. Tangerines (Citrus tangerina) are closely related to mandarin oranges, although the name is usually reserved for the more reddish fruit. They are named after the city of Tangier, Morocco, from where they were exported to Europe. Clementines (Citrus ×clementina) are hybrids developed from crossing a Mandarin orange and a sweet orange. They are sweeter than tangerines, but just as easy to peel. Clementines are usually seedless, and are sometimes referred to as “seedless mandarins.”

Orange

Photograph by Morlawmina.

Oranges (Citrus sinensis) are the citrus fruit we are most familiar with. They do not exist in the wild, but were cultivated in Asia since ancient times. It is thought that the first oranges were hybrids of the pomelo and the mandarin. Oranges were brought to the Middle East in the 9th century, and into Italy by 11th-century Crusaders. By the 15th century, they had been introduced to Europe, and soon after, trees were being grown in the Caribbean Islands and in Florida. However, orange trees are temperature sensitive and the fruit was difficult to transport over long distances, so the fruit was rather expensive for most people. They were considered a real treat for the holidays, which explains their association with Christmas. Your parents or grandparents will likely remember how special it was to see an orange in the toe of their Christmas stocking.

That changed in the 1920s, when canned orange juice began to be marketed as a health drink. Vitamins were pushed as the new miracle cure, and the National Fruit Growers Exchange took advantage of the craze to promote orange juice. But orange juice didn’t really take off until frozen orange juice concentrate was developed in 1948. Frozen concentrate could be shipped all over at a fraction of the price of whole oranges, without spoiling. Plus, the growers’ orange crops could be preserved year-round. Orange juice was pushed as a natural and healthy breakfast drink, a campaign which worked wondrously. However, in the past decade, sales of orange juice are down in comparison with other juices and fresh fruit.

Grapefruit

Image by א (Aleph).

Grapefruit (Citrus x paradisi) is a hybrid derived from pomelos and sweet oranges. It is believed to have been an accidental hybrid arising in Barbados and Jamaica in the 18th century. The name came from the tendency of the fruits to grow in clusters resembling huge grapes. The grapefruit was a novelty fruit outside of Florida until the 1930s, when the Grapefruit Diet was introduced. The diet recommended that a half a grapefruit be eaten before each meal. Those on the diet lost weight, but it wasn’t because grapefruit enzymes burned fat, as was often said. It was more likely because the low-calorie grapefruit filled the dieter’s stomach, causing them to eat less of other foods.

Tangelo

Photograph by Gareth Bogdanoff.

A tangelo (Citrus X tangelo) is a hybrid derived from crossing a mandarin and a grapefruit. Tangelos are juicy, brightly-colored, and have a loose peel that’s easy to remove. They also have a distinctive “neck” that protrudes from the sphere. Ugli fruit is a variety of tangelo with a not-quite spherical shape, believed to have been an accidental hybrid of grapefruit and mandarin that occurred in Jamaica around 1917.

Kumquat

Photograph by Flickr user Choo Yut Shing.

Kumquats (Citrus japonica) are tiny, oval-shaped citrus fruits. Sometimes the fruit is placed in the genus Fortunella instead of citrus. Kumquat trees are hardier than other citrus plants and can be grown at more northern latitudes. The fruit can be eaten whole, peel and all, except for the seeds. They are also pickled, candied, and used to flavor tea.

Lemon

Photogaph by Flickr user Susy Morris.

Lemons (Citrus × limon) possibly originated in India, and are thought to be a hybrid of the citron and the bitter orange. Lemons are so acidic that they are used as flavoring and as an acidic preservative rather than a fruit. As Peter, Paul, & Mary put it: 

Lemon tree, very pretty, and the lemon flower is sweet
But the fruit of the lemon is impossible to eat.

Lime

Photograph by Steve Hopson.

The name lime encompasses about a dozen species of citrus fruit that are generally green and lemon-shaped. They are almost as acidic as lemon but have their own distinct flavor. Like lemons, they are mainly used as a flavoring agent. In 1747, British Royal Navy surgeon Dr. James Lind discovered that citrus fruits could prevent scurvy, a disease which particularly afflicted sailors who spent months at sea. In 1795, the navy began carrying lemons to provide sailors with vitamin C. However, limes were easier to get in the Caribbean islands ruled by the British, so they switched to limes. It was only later found that lemons have two to four times the vitamin C of limes, depending on the variety.

Original image
DreamWorks
arrow
entertainment
15 Must-Watch Facts About The Ring
Original image
DreamWorks

An urban legend about a videotape that kills its viewers seven days after they see it turns out to be true. To her increasing horror, reporter Rachel Keller (then-newcomer Naomi Watts) discovers this after her niece is one of four teenage victims, and is in a race against the clock to uncover the mystery behind the girl in the video before her and her son’s time is up.

Released 15 years ago, on October 18, 2002, The Ring began a trend of both remaking Japanese horror films in a big way, and giving you nightmares about creepy creatures crawling out of your television. Here are some facts about the film that you can feel free to pass along to anybody, guilt-free.

1. DREAMWORKS BOUGHT THE AMERICAN RIGHTS TO RINGU FOR $1 MILLION.

There were conflicting stories over how executive producer Roy Lee came to see the 1998 Japanese horror film Ringu, Hideo Nakata's adaptation of the 1991 novel Ring by Kôji Suzuki. Lee said two different friends gave him a copy of Ringu in January 2001, which he loved and immediately gave to DreamWorks executive Mark Sourian, who agreed to purchase the rights. But Lee’s close friend Mike Macari worked at Fine Line Features, which had an American remake of Ringu in development before January 2001. Macari said he showed Lee Ringu much earlier. Macari and Lee were both listed as executive producers for The Ring.

2. THE DIRECTOR FIRST SAW RINGU ON A POOR QUALITY VHS TAPE, WHICH ADDED TO ITS CREEPINESS.

Gore Verbinski had previously directed MouseHunt. He said the first time he "watched the original Ringu was on a VHS tape that was probably seven generations down. It was really poor quality, but actually that added to the mystique, especially when I realized that this was a movie about a videotape." Naomi Watts struggled to find a VHS copy of Ringu while shooting in the south of Wales. When she finally got a hold of one she watched it on a very small TV alone in her hotel room. "I remember being pretty freaked out," Watts said. "I just saw it the once, and that was enough to get me excited about doing it."

3. THE RING AND RINGU ARE ABOUT 50 PERCENT DIFFERENT.

Naomi Watts in 'The Ring'
© 2002 - DreamWorks LLC - All Rights Reserved

Verbinski estimated that, for the American version, they "changed up to 50 percent of it. The basic premise is intact, the story is intact, the ghost story, the story of Samara, the child." Storylines involving the characters having ESP, a volcano, “dream logic,” and references to “brine and goblins” were taken out.

4. IT RAINED ALMOST EVERY DAY WHEN THEY FILMED IN THE STATE OF WASHINGTON.

The weather added to the “atmosphere of dread,” according to the film's production notes. Verbinski said the setting allowed them to create an “overcast mood” of dampness and isolation.

5. THE PRODUCTION DESIGNER WAS INFLUENCED BY ANDREW WYETH.

Artist Andrew Wyeth tended to use muted, somber earth tones in his work. "In Wyeth's work, the trees are always dormant, and the colors are muted earth tones," explained production designer Tom Duffield. "It's greys, it's browns, it's somber colors; it's ripped fabrics in the windows. His work has a haunting flavor that I felt would add to the mystique of this movie, so I latched on to it."

6. THERE WERE RINGS EVERYWHERE.

The carpeting and wallpaper patterns, the circular kitchen knobs, the doctor’s sweater design, Rachel’s apartment number, and more were purposely designed with the film's title in mind.

7. WATTS AND MARTIN HENDERSON HAD A FRIENDLY INTERNATIONAL RIVALRY.

Martin Henderson and Naomi Watts star in 'The Ring' (1992)
© 2002 - DreamWorks LLC - All Rights Reserved

The New Zealand-born Henderson played Noah, Rachel’s ex-husband. Since Watts is from Australia, Henderson said that, "Between takes, we'd joke around with each other's accents and play into the whole New Zealand-Australia rivalry."

8. THE TWO WEREN’T SURE IF THE MOVIE WAS GOING TO BE SCARY ENOUGH.

After shooting some of the scenes, and not having the benefit of seeing what they'd look like once any special effects were added, Henderson and Watts worried that the final result would not be scary enough. "There were moments when Naomi and I would look at each other and say, 'This is embarrassing, people are going to laugh,'" Henderson told the BBC." You just hope that somebody makes it scary or you're going to look like an idiot!"

9. CHRIS COOPER WAS CUT FROM THE MOVIE.

Cooper played a child murderer in two scenes which were initially meant to bookend the film. He unconvincingly claimed to Rachel that he found God in the beginning, and in the end she gave him the cursed tape. Audiences at test screenings were distracted that an actor they recognized disappears for most of the film, so he was cut out entirely.

10. THEY TRIED TO GET RID OF ALL OF THE SHADOWS.

Verbinski and cinematographer Bojan Bazelli used the lack of sunlight in Washington to remove the characters’ shadows. The two wanted to keep the characters feeling as if “they’re floating a little bit, in space.”

11. THE TREE WAS NICKNAMED "LUCILLE."

The red Japanese maple tree in the cursed video was named after the famous redheaded actress Lucille Ball. The tree was fake, built out of steel tubing and plaster. The Washington wind blew it over three different times. The night they put up the tree in Los Angeles, the wind blew at 60 miles per hour and knocked Lucille over yet again. "It was very strange," said Duffield.

12. MOESKO ISLAND IS A FUNCTIONING LIGHTHOUSE.

Moesko Island Lighthouse is Yaquina Head Lighthouse, at the mouth of the Yaquina River, a mile west of Agate Beach, Oregon. The website Rachel checks, MoeskoIslandLighthouse.com, used to actually exist as a one-page website, which gave general information on the fictional place. You can read it here.

13. A WEBSITE WAS CREATED BY DREAMWORKS TO PROMOTE THE MOVIE AND ADD TO ITS MYTHOLOGY.

Before and during the theatrical release, if you logged into AnOpenLetter.com, you could read a message in white lettering against a black background warning about what happens if you watch the cursed video (you can read it here). By November 24, 2002, it was a standard official website made for the movie, set up by DreamWorks.

14. VERBINSKI DIDN’T HAVE FUN DIRECTING THE MOVIE.

“It’s no fun making a horror film," admitted Verbinski. "You get into some darker areas of the brain and after a while everything becomes a bit depressing.”

15. DAVEIGH CHASE SCARED HERSELF.

Daveigh Chase in 'The Ring'
© 2002 - DreamWorks LLC - All Rights Reserved

When Daveigh Chase, who played Samara, saw The Ring in theaters, she had to cover her eyes out of fear—of herself. Some people she met after the movie came out were also afraid of her.

Original image
Land Cover CCI, ESA
arrow
Afternoon Map
European Space Agency Releases First High-Res Land Cover Map of Africa
Original image
Land Cover CCI, ESA

This isn’t just any image of Africa. It represents the first of its kind: a high-resolution map of the different types of land cover that are found on the continent, released by The European Space Agency, as Travel + Leisure reports.

Land cover maps depict the different physical materials that cover the Earth, whether that material is vegetation, wetlands, concrete, or sand. They can be used to track the growth of cities, assess flooding, keep tabs on environmental issues like deforestation or desertification, and more.

The newly released land cover map of Africa shows the continent at an extremely detailed resolution. Each pixel represents just 65.6 feet (20 meters) on the ground. It’s designed to help researchers model the extent of climate change across Africa, study biodiversity and natural resources, and see how land use is changing, among other applications.

Developed as part of the Climate Change Initiative (CCI) Land Cover project, the space agency gathered a full year’s worth of data from its Sentinel-2A satellite to create the map. In total, the image is made from 90 terabytes of data—180,000 images—taken between December 2015 and December 2016.

The map is so large and detailed that the space agency created its own online viewer for it. You can dive further into the image here.

And keep watch: A better map might be close at hand. In March, the ESA launched the Sentinal-2B satellite, which it says will make a global map at a 32.8 feet-per-pixel (10 meters) resolution possible.

[h/t Travel + Leisure]

SECTIONS

arrow
LIVE SMARTER
More from mental floss studios