The short answer is yes. But you probably won’t want to and here’s why.
The Spanish orange industry is nothing short of sensational. The value of their annual exports routinely approaches a billion euros and orange production in Spain has quality, variety, and an expanding organic market all on its side. In the city of Valencia, oranges are so abundant they even grow on the trees lining the streets! Valencia has over 741,000 acres of land devoted to orange cultivation all year long. With a climate and land so conducive to growing these wonderful orange fruits, it seems rather logical they’d embrace and honor them all throughout the city.
Upon my arrival to Valencia, I was in absolute awe of the orange trees. Seeing such colorful fruitful trees was a wonder to my eyes. Back at home in New Jersey, we have Chestnut and Black Oak trees. Home-y and cozy though they may be, there is something so cheery about seeing brightly colored ripe oranges dangling above your head while walking through a city in the middle of the winter.
“A government-sponsored food initiative to combat hunger,” he claimed. If only…
When I asked Jorge why the city streets were filled with these beautiful oranges, he tried to pull a quick one on me and told me the orange trees were a government-sponsored food initiative to combat hunger. I assumed this to be true because, well, it made sense. The oranges were everywhere! I have even heard stories of a society somewhere that has crops growing in such abundance that a “take what you need” philosophy is actually sustainable. Isn’t that incredible? Anyway, Jorge soon went on to tell me he was just kidding and informed me that as delicious as the oranges may appear to be, the ones on the streets of Valencia are actually quite bitter and should not be eaten.
Of course, this naturally piqued my curiosity and my mind became filled with questions. I began to wonder if they could be eaten! I wondered what the oranges tasted like. They couldn’t possibly be poisonous or Valencia’s officials wouldn’t allow for them to be so easily accessible to the public… right?
While walking home with Jorge, we plucked off an orange and brought it home with us. I wanted to connect to Wi-Fi, make sure I wouldn’t die, and then if deemed safe, taste-test the oranges of Valencia. I couldn’t find anything online saying the oranges were dangerous so by default I concluded they must be safe. Logic at its finest.
After dinner, I began to peel open my small orange taken from the city streets of Valencia. I slowly licked a slice to see if I’d recoil from its taste. When I bit into it, I was surprised. I had this preconceived notion that the oranges would be disgusting but mine wasn’t that bad! I mean, it was bitter and sour and had a lot more in common with a lemon than a traditional orange… but I love sour things! Even more than sweet. So this orange was actually not as horrible as I expected it to be. However, I can totally see why people don’t typically eat them and why they’re more commonly sent to the United Kingdom for the production of marmalade.
After conducting my super-scientific taste-test and analysis on eating the oranges in Valencia, the general consensus here seems to suggest we should let them be.
Besides, the more oranges there are on the trees, the more beautiful Valencia city can be!