As an Amazon Affiliate, We Earn From Qualifying Sales. Read Full Disclosure Here

Since there is a lot of debate surrounding the edibility of osage oranges, I’ll answer the question, ‘are Osage oranges edible ‘ in this article. Some people love to enjoy their unique flavor & nutritional value, while others argue that they are inedible & even poisonous.

So, which is it? Without wasting time, Let’s get the answer to the question: ‘Are osage oranges edible’ and then I will tell you why people think Osage oranges are inedible. Let’s dive into the facts and find out.

Are Osage Oranges Edible?

Yes, Osage oranges are edible, but people like to avoid eating them traditionally. Osage oranges contain 2,3,4,5-tetrahydroxystilbene (THS) responsible for a bitter taste.

This compound has toxic effects on certain animals, but there is no definitive evidence of toxicity to humans. However, Eating too much of Osage oranges can potentially cause gastrointestinal upset.

One of the other reasons for the conflicting opinions on the edibility of osage oranges is that they are not oranges at all. Osage oranges, or hedge apples, are the fruit of the osage orange tree (Maclura pomifera), native to the central and southern United States.

The fruit is roughly the size & shape of a grapefruit, with a bright green, bumpy exterior that turns yellowish-green as it ripens. When you cut it open, the fruit will reveal a milky sap with a white, spongy interior filled with seeds. Many people continuously argue that osage oranges are edible and even delicious, with a flavor similar to a cross between a pineapple & a citrus fruit.

But on the other hand, other people debate that the fruit is inedible and even toxic, citing its bitter taste, tough texture, & potential to cause gastrointestinal distress. People who are debating on the fact that osage oranges are not edible might be due to their chemical composition.

Yes, the chemical composition of osage oranges may help you understand why some people find them edible while others do not.

In reality, the Osage oranges are high in antioxidants (particularly flavonoids & phenolic acids) and contain high levels of a chemical compound called 2,3,4,5-tetrahydroxystilbene (THS), which is said to be harmful to pets like dogs & cats.

However, humans don’t need to worry much about consuming a few of the ocean oranges fruit as there is no clear evidence that ‘THS’ can harm humans. 

Related Article: Are Osage Oranges Poisonous To Cats

Why do People Think Osage Oranges as Inedible?

In addition to its chemical composition, there are also many other factors you need to know that may contribute to the perception of osage oranges as inedible. The main fact is that osage orange fruit is not commonly consumed in Western cultures.

Since native peoples are not consuming these fruits, it also leads many people to assume that they must be inedible or even poisonous. Another factor that makes us think this fruit is not edible can be its tough, fibrous texture, which is difficult to chew & digest, especially for senior citizens.

Some people, including my brother, find the Osage orange fruit’s unique flavor off-putting, describing it as overly sweet or sour.

Consider Reading: How To Eat An Osage Orange?

Nutritional Value of Osage Oranges

Even though there is debate over the edibility of osage oranges, you can safely eat some to try its flavor. Also, no one can deny that Osage orange fruits are packed with nutrients. Here’s a breakdown of the Osage orange fruit’s nutritional composition based on a 100-gram serving:

  • Calories: 95
  • Carbohydrates: 25 grams
  • Fiber: 4 grams
  • Protein: 1 gram
  • Fat: 0 grams
  • Vitamin C: 40% of the daily value
  • Vitamin A: 5% of the daily value
  • Calcium: 3% of the daily value
  • Iron: 5% of the daily value

Comparison of the Nutritional Value of Osage Oranges to Other Fruits

To better understand the nutritional value found in Osage orange fruits, we will take a quick look at the nutrient content of similar fruits as well. You should take a quick look at the table where I have broken down the nutrient content of osage oranges, normal oranges, and grapefruit based on a hundred-gram serving.

NutrientOsage OrangesOrangesGrapefruit
Carbohydrates25 g12 g11 g
Fiber4 g2.4 g1.6 g
Protein1 g0.9 g0.8 g
Fat0 g0.1 g0.1 g
Vitamin C40%88%52%
Vitamin A5%4%2%

As you can see from the table, osage oranges are not only high in calories & carbohydrates than oranges or grapefruit, but they also have a higher concentration of fiber, vitamin C, & iron.

Thus, it makes the Osage oranges an excellent snack to try. However, there are a few health benefits along with potential drawbacks of consuming osage oranges that you need to understand first.

Health Benefits & Potential Drawbacks of Consuming Osage Oranges

Even though people argue over the edibility of osage oranges, you don’t hesitate to taste one because it’s packed with nutrients that provide many health benefits. If you are looking to eat posses oranges, here are a few potential benefits that you must know:

  • Improved Immune Function: Since osage orange contains a high amount of Vitamin C, it will help you boost Your immune system leading to ultimate protection against illnesses & infections.
  • Antioxidant Protection: The flavonoids & phenolic acids found in osage oranges have been shown to have potent antioxidant effects. , consuming Osage orange fruits will protect your cells from damage and reduce your risk of chronic diseases.
  • Digestive Health & Anti-inflammatory Effects: if you want to promote healthy digestion and prevent constipation, you can benefit from the fiber in the osage orange fruit. Also, osage oranges contain compounds that may be anti-inflammatory, reducing inflammation throughout your body and lowering the risk of chronic diseases like heart disease or cancer.

After knowing all this, you should grab a handful of osage orange fruit, but there are also a few potential drawbacks you should know before consuming it.

Few people have reported health issues like allergic reactions or gastrointestinal upset to the fruit. However, you are less likely to experience such problems unless you consume Osage Oranges, particularly in large quantities.

It is also important that you prepare & cook the Osage orange to mellow out their flavor if you plan to eat a lot of them. Eating a raw osage orange can be very bitter to taste.

Preparing and Cooking Osage Oranges

As I told you earlier, you can eat raw Osage oranges, but their flavor and texture can be quite strong and bitter, especially for the first time.

This is why many people like to cook or prepare them in some way to mellow out their flavor. Here are three different ways to prepare osage oranges for consumption:


Like any other citrus fruit, Osage oranges can be juiced in the same way. Many people frequently use osage orange juice in their smooth cocktails or sometimes as a base for a salad dressing. If you want to prepare juice from this fruit, note that one osage orange typically yields about 1/4 to 1/3 cup of juice.

Jam or Jelly

Yes, you can make jam or jelly using osage Orange fruits instead of other tarts like cranberries or currants. You should know that osage oranges are also high in pectin, making them an excellent fruit for making jam or jelly. If you want to prepare jelly, here is my favorite recipe. 

Firstly, get some essentials like: 

  • 1 quart of osage oranges, washed and quartered
  • 4 cups of water
  • 4 cups of sugar
  • One package of powdered pectin

You only need something else if you have all the ingredients readily available. Firstly it is important to take a large spot filled with water and combine the Osage Orange with it to bring it to a boil.

Ensure you keep the heat reduced so you can simmer the pot for at least 30 minutes. After 30 minutes, strain the liquid through a cheesecloth or fine mesh sieve. While doing so, you need to measure out 3 cups of liquid and then add that liquid back to the pot.

Once this step is done, you must add a considerable amount of sugar & pectin and bring it to a boil. After boiling it for 1 minute, remove the pot instantly from the heat and then skim off any foam. After that, you can ladle the hot jelly into jars & process it in a water bath for 10 minutes.

Baked Goods

Lastly, you can use oranges in baked goods like muffins, bread, or scones. I usually use Osage fruits with other fall flavors like cinnamon, nutmeg, and ginger because they pair extremely well.

Safety Precautions When Handling Osage 

As mentioned in the above section, Oranges osage oranges contain a compound called 2,3,4,5-tetrahydroxystilbene. Therefore, always handle it carefully and never offer raw fruit to people with an over-sensitive immune system.

Few people can experience irritation due to the THS compound found in it. In addition to this, you should never offer these fruits to your pets, like dogs or cats, as they can experience toxic effects.

If you want to prevent poisoning to your pet, consider trading my in-depth article which cover eaver aspects of “Are Osage Oranges Poisonous To Dogs?“. Also, it would be best to avoid eating too much orange osage orange fruits as this can be tough for your immune system, leading to gastrointestinal issues.

Additionally, osage oranges can be quite heavy and dense, so you should always be careful when cutting or handling them to avoid injury/accidents.


I have done my best to give you a proper answer to the question, “Are osage oranges edible? Or ‘Can osage oranges be eaten?’ or not. Since Osage Orange doesn’t contain any toxins that might harm humans, you can safely eat a couple of them.

You might not feel interested in eating them raw; it’s better to cook or prepare them before consuming them. If you find this article helpful, please share it. Your share will help many people learn about the edibility of osage oranges and how they should eat it. Check our other helpful guide on page orange tree care & Management shared on this website. See you in the next post, till then, take care & goodbye.