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  • Writer's pictureAnnemarie Bolduc

Oranges for your Blues

Updated: Sep 13, 2023

Orange as a colour, a fruit and a flavour... will always shine on any kind of blue!

A basket of fresh navel oranges straight from the orchard • Photography © Bottle and Brush Studio 2021

Could we say that orange is the happiest flavour and colour of all? That glass of freshly pressed orange juice can have the same effect as coffee for most people (I also enjoy that coffee). It awakens your senses, washes your morning breath and makes you feel rehydrated and energized. Just like that, it's a good start for a promising day. If you feel sick with a cold, that orange will soothe your sore throat and give you a good boost of vitamin C for fighting that virus. Oranges not only taste great but their colours are soooo... orange! In painting, the orange colour is an equal mix of yellow and red primary colours. This makes it the second warmest secondary colour of the chromatic circle. The more red is added, the more it is hot. Blood oranges are pretty fascinating as the red pulp can get so deeply red, I just love them! Orange photography can only make me happy. On a dark background, neutral or white background this fruit is not only so photogenic, this fruit is glowing!

Bright orange to bloody red • Photo © Bottle and Brush Studio 2020-22

Using complementary colours will have a high impact on a subject. Orange and blue are a high-contrast complement. As you can see in this series of photos below, the basket of oranges stands out from the blue shed, forget-me-not flowers and blue floral dishes. They also complete each other as a warm and cold contrast and that is why this is called colour harmony. And what about the green leaves? Well, this means we have a split complementary colour contrast as we have a base (blue) and two secondary colours (orange and green). On the chromatic colour wheel, split also means a colour in between two opposite colours. Did I lose anyone with this colour wheel theory? Then let's scroll down and continue with interesting facts about the fruit of honour!

Playing with high contrast complement • Photography © Bottle and Brush Studio 2021

Oranges originate from Asia and are one of the most cultivated fruit trees in the world. In my generation, oranges have always been an available fruit and juice staple, but imported from the USA or Mediterranean countries. To my grandparents' generation in Québec, oranges were still a new and rare exotic fruit. They were enjoyed and given to children as Xmas presents. I remember being told many times as a kid "in our days, we were only receiving oranges for Christmas". I was shocked by this then but I'll be honest with you if you give me oranges as a present now, I'll be more than happy, especially if they are organically grown and free of pesticides! Other than being so pretty and delicious, oranges are full of vitamin C and a great remedy for cold and flu, and cool seasons blues.


Unlike lemons and limes, oranges (including mandarins and clementines) are sweet and can be peeled and eaten fresh. Some varieties (like Seville) are too bitter tough and best for cooking marmalades and candied citrus (like cumquats). But like all citrus, they can be juiced and cooked in desserts. As a savoury dish ingredient, they are used in Duck à l'Orange like my Citrus Duck Confit (recipe to come). Organic oranges are the best choice for making marmalades, candied citrus and any recipes using the skin of the fruit. You can dehydrate or candy slices to make desserts like these Citrus Mini Cakes (recipe to come). Orange trees require sunny winter and heat so they are not very suitable in the colder zones unless you are keen to grow them in pots. In Australia's suitable regions, the fruits are harvested all year long, depending on varieties but the cool seasons are the peak time. Navel oranges are the most popular variety for their sweetness and juiciness, plus they are seedless. They are available from June to October, which made this spring photo possible. One day my husband came back with a box full of them, straight from an orchard. My Forget-me-not patch was in bloom, and the timing was just perfect for a cold and warm complement-contrast photoshoot!

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