Why I Don’t Like Oranges

In the post Are These the 14 SuperFoods? I confessed that I don’t like oranges. Some of you already know this story. For the rest of you, enjoy the tale of how I lost my love for oranges during the summer of 1996.

Before I start the story, let me tell you what I dislike about oranges. I loathe the smell of oranges, especially the peels. And I would never touch a sliced orange.

If a slice of orange is served on my food at a Chinese restaurant, I will remove it (HazMat style), wrap it and get it as far away from me as possible. Many people prohibit smoking in their homes. Since 1996 I’ve prohibited oranges in my home. I used to work with a guy who ate an orange daily in the break room at lunch. The smell would bother me until I tied off the trash bag and took it out to the dumpster.

Back to the story. I was living in Tampa and was getting ready for a trip to visit my family back in Ohio. Before leaving I decided to do some grocery shopping. While there I bought 2 cans of frozen concentrate orange juice. When I got home and unpacked my bags, I only found one can. My car was empty, so I came to the conclusion that one of the cans didn’t get bagged. Since my trip was the next day, I let it slide.

Photo by Ivan Chang

My trip to Ohio was for 10 days. I drove to the airport and parked my car in long-term parking. By parking on the roof, I think I saved a dollar a day. Some of the smarter readers have probably figured out what happened to the missing orange juice.

After 10 days in Ohio, I returned to Florida and was reunited with my car in long-term parking. The second I opened the door the most hideous smell of my life about knocked me to the ground. The missing can of frozen orange juice had rolled underneath the seat of my Honda Civic hatchback. There in the blazing hot Florida sun, it had thawed and leaked out of the container. It coated the carpet of the car and proceeded to cook in 100-degree temperatures for 10 days.

Somehow I managed to get the car home. With each mile I drove, my love for oranges was vanishing. By the time I got home, I hated oranges. The next week I spent over one hundred dollars getting the car professionally cleaned. Had this gone smoothly, things may have turned out differently. But the first few cleanings actually made things worse. The cleaners had spread the orange smell. The doors were now sticky. After more detail work, they finally got 99% of the orange juice out of the car.

For the next few months, the faint hint of cooked orange juice drifted in my car. I drove a good part of that summer with the windows down and not using the air-conditioning.

Now you know why I don’t like oranges. Had you been with me in long-term parking that summer day in 1996, you wouldn’t like oranges either. In recent years, I have been able to drink OJ. But that is as far as I can go. I actually prefer fake orange tastes like Tang or creamsicle.

2015 UPDATE: Overcoming My Only Irrational Food Fear

Legacy Comments


You can’t get any powerful smell out of a car. My sister barfed in an old Camry we had when I was a teenager — we tried absolutely everything save stripping out the carpets entirely. Still, under the right conditions, there would be the barf smell.

Sounds like a bad deal. I like oranges myself. :-


Add yours

  1. What a lame reason not to like oranges!

    I simply don’t like eating the raw fruit because of that gross white skin stuff that covers the slices. Because of this, I always get grossed out when I see people peeling oranges, and then eating the slices whole. I do like properly filtered OJ, though, and the pulp without skin is good too, but I’d have to go through removing the gross skin to get at it, which can get really dirty, so no thanks – I’ll stick with OJ!

  2. Ann Rosen Korman

    Jul 27, 2012 — 2:35 pm

    lol!!!! I have the same issue with banana cream pie… trust me fresh oj will not have the smell that you remember from the car.
    In grace!!!

  3. My hatred for the “Orange” smell came from childhood.

    As children, oranges were one of the staples. I was brought up with the habit of always washing hands. Oranges are just one of those smells that dont leave ones hands no matter how hard you scrub them. They just stick!

    Also as children, we use to love playing on the grass. There were kids that never washed their hands after eating a orange and the smell of oranges mixed with grassy smells reaked all over them. Mix that with the hot blazing sun…. I still get a gross feeling just thinking about it.

    So now, when someone peels a orange I pinch my nose close or leave the room. Dont even come with orange flavoured bathroom sprays – that goes straight to the bin.

    I dont care if people dont understand. Its just one of those things that some people have. Fortunately my boyfriend is not big on fruit, so he doesn’t mind that oranges are never around. He also doesnt like pure OJ because of the pieces, so thats even better for me.

    So know, you are not alone.

  4. I can drink the juice sometimes, but I HATE the smell of oranges (and vanilla) and everytime my husband eats one I want to puke. It’s that bad. I wont allow orange smelling cleaners or anything to be used at home. But I love lemons. So what is it about the oranges?

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