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All values in the chart below are rounded to the nearest whole number. Exactly half a milligram is rounded up, not down.

Most of the information is from the USDA Nutrient database for standard reference, release 12 (1998). There is occasional wide variation in results between different investigators. For example, the USDA Nutrient database lists fresh Jujube at 69 mg vitamin C in every 100 mg flesh, where investigators at the University of California listed around 500 mg/100 grams. In the case of jujube, this may be caused because the fruit increase in vitamin C content with maturation, or it may be that different varieties tested have different levels, or a combination of both.

So these figures should not be taken as 'gospel', but rather as indicative. The vitamin C content of many fruit is higher when it is slightly immature, and declines as the fruit hits peak ripeness. For a few, such as the jujube fruit already mentioned, the vitamin C content does the opposite, it rises with increased ripeness. Vitamin C content also decreases with storage. For example, the kiwifruit is an exceptionally rich source of vitamin C - a medium sized fruit has 74 mg, but a kiwifruit that has been coolstored for a while has a vitamin C content of 57 mgs. Still excellent, but less excellent!
 
In terms of consumer acceptability and likely frequency of eating, the yellow fleshed kiwifruit can be considered the best source of vitamin C in commercially available fruit.
 
Generally far more important than ripening and storage effects, is the effect of the variety of fruit. In some fruits, the amount of
vitamin C varies between different varieties of the same species. The tropical guava, Psidium guajava, is regarded as an excellent source of vitamin C, but there is great variation in vitamin C levels amongst the various cultivated varieties. For example, the variety 'Donaldson' has 372 mg/100 grams of flesh, but the variety 'Supreme' has only 44 mg/100 gms (some South African pink guava cultivars grown for the canning industry are said to have an astonishing 400 mg/100 gms!). Again, for mangoes, the varieties 'Pirie' and 'Haden' are only 'fair' sources, where other varieties are 'excellent' sources.

The current (1989) recommended daily allowance (RDA) for an adult is 60 milligrams per day (this is based on the amount of vitamin C needed to prevent clinical scurvy and provide body stores sufficient to prevent scurvy for around 30 days, plus "a margin of safety").
Pregnant and lactating women are regarded as needing more than this. Some people claim that the optimum intake is 500 mg per day. Recent test on healthy males clearly show 200mg per day is required to maintain tissues at full saturation, but without excreting vitamin C. Women have not been tested. At April 1999, it is being 'officially' recommended, based on new information, that the RDA ought to be changed to 120 milligrams per day.[4]
 
The daily intake for a gatherer hunter would depend on the season, the particular ecosystem the tribe was living in, and the size of the family unit that shared whatever resource was available. The daily intake would probably have been well in excess of the RDA at times of year when fruit and greens were relatively abundant, and at other times may well have been much less. Either way, it is unlikely we took in 500 mg per day every day. The 500 mg so called 'optimum' probably reflects the need for a city living human to protect against stressful living, and the now wide exposure to damaging environmental chemicals. Such a level can only realistically be obtained by taking supplemental vitamin C.

Nutritionists generally regard any 'serving' of food that provides 10% to 25% of the daily vitamin C need in a relatively low calorie package as a 'good' source. The serving size most of us choose is pretty uniform - most of us would eat one apple, half an avocado in a salad, half a medium sized tomato as part of a salad, one banana, a slice of melon, and so on. On this basis, some fruits, such as kiwifruit, are quite outstanding, in that they provide more than the RDA in one relatively small fruit. Other fruits, such as oranges, are both very good sources and are also cheap, and pack in a lunch without crushing or leaking. So their importance is much greater than their vitamin C content alone would suggest.

Vitamin C is an important anti-oxidant, helps protect against cancers, heart disease, stress, it is part of the cellular chemistry that provides energy, it is essential for sperm production, and for making the collagen protein involved in the building and health of cartilage, joints, skin, and blood vessels. Vitamin C helps in maintaining a healthy immune system, it aids in neutralizing pollutants, is needed for antibody production, acts to increase the absorption of nutrients (including iron) in the gut, and thins the blood. Just to mention its most important functions.

Any fruit, or natural portion (e.g. slice of melon, or a handful of berries) in the chart below which has from 6 to 15 milligrams of vitamin C and is not highly packed with sugars is regarded as a 'good' source. Some very sweet fruit, such as apples, can be regarded as fairly good sources because they have more than 6 milligrams a serving, but not much more. Some very acid fruit, for example Surinam cherry, have 'good' absolute levels in the flesh, but are both small and unpalatable, so only one or two would ever be eaten at any one time. Therefore they are ranked lower than more acceptable fruit of a similar size and vitamin C content.

Any fruit, or natural portion (e.g. slice of melon, or a handful of berries) that gives from about 15 milligrams to about 30 milligrams can be considered a 'very good' source of vitamin C

When a fruit or natural portion (e.g. slice of melon, or a handful of berries) has more than about 30 milligrams per serving, it is an 'excellent' source of Vitamin C.

Obviously, when a single serving supplies a lot better than the current RDA of vitamin C, it is an 'exceptional' source, at least in my view!

The half ripe fruit of the camu camu, a shrubby tree of the Amazon, has the distinction of having the highest recorded levels of any fruit, surpassing even the highest levels recorded in the acerola. At 2.7 grams of ascorbic acid per 100 grams of fruit, the ascorbic acid content is nothing short of astounding! ('Ascorbic acid' is the technical term for vitamin C).
 
If you can add vitamin C analysis of fruit not listed here I would be pleased to receive it. Email me at
removethespamtrapfirstcontact@naturalhub.com

 
Fruit
Latin name
mg vitamin C
/ 100 grams
mg vitamin C
per average 
size fruit/slice*
Ranking
Notes
     **Acerola 
Malpighia glabra
1,677
80
exceptional*
 
 Apple
Malus sylvestris 
 6
 8
fairly good
 
 Apricot
Prunus armeniaca 
 10
 4
 -
 
 Apricot, canned
 Prunus armeniaca 
 3
 2
 -
 
Asian pear
Pyrus serotina
4
5
 -
 
 Avocado
Persea americana 
  8 
16 
fairly good
 
 Banana
Musa X paradisiaca 
 9
11
good
 
Babaco
Carica pubescens x stipulata forma 'pentagona'
21 to 32
21 to 32
very good
[1]
Barbados Cherry
Malpighia glabra
 1,678 112
exceptional
[7]
Bilberry
Vaccinium myrtillus
1
     0.01*(estim)
-
[1]
**Baobab
Adonsonia digitata
150 to 499
100
exceptional
[2]
 Breadfruit
Artocarpus altilis 
 29
  28*
very good
 
Blackberry
Rubus sp.
6
         0.6(estim)
-
[1]
Blackcurrant
Ribes nigrum
155 to 215
1.5 to 2*(estim.)
excellent
[1]
Blueberry
Vaccinium sp
1.3 to 16.4
no data*
-
[3]
**Camu Camu
Myrciaria dubia
2,700
no data
astounding
 
 Carambola
Averrhoa carambola 
21
19 
very good
 
Casimiroa
Casimiroa edulis
30
15*
very good
 
 Crabapple
Malus sp. 
8
          2 (estim.)
 -
 
Cherimoya
Annona cherimola
9
 10*
fairly good
 
Custard apple
Annona reticulata
19
no data
very good
 
Feijoa
Feijoa sellowiana
25
13
good
 
Feijoa
Feijoa sellowiana 
cv. 'Mammoth'
31
16
very good
[6]
Feijoa
Feijoa sellowiana
cv.'Triumph'
27
14
good
[6]
Fig
Ficus carica
2
1
 -
 
Grape, slip skin 
Vitis spp
4
         .01
 -
 
Grape, european
Vitis vinifera
11
        .60
good*
 
Grapefruit
Citrus paradisi
34
 44*
excellent
 
**Guava, Cattley 
Psidium cattleianum
37
2
very good*
 
Guava, tropical
Psidium guajava
183
165
exceptional
 
**Java plum
Syzgium cumini
14
      .42
 -
 
Jujube
Ziziphus jujuba
500
no data
exceptional*
 
**Kei apple
Dovyalis caffra
117
17
   excellent*
 
Kiwano
Cucumis metuliferus
0.5
0.5
-
[1]
Kiwifruit, green
Actinidia deliciosa
98
74
exceptional
 
Kiwifruit, yellow
Actinidia chinensis
120 to 180
108 to 162
exceptional
 
Lemon juice
Citrus limon
46
3*
 -
 
Lime juice
Citrus aurantifolia
29
1*
 -
 
Longan
Dimocarpus longan
84
3*
good
 
Loquat
Eriobotrya japonica
1
      .5
 -
 
Lychee
Litchi chinensis
72
7*
very good
 
Mango
Mangifera indica
28
57
excellent
 
         **Marula
Sclerocarya birrea
68
60(estim)
excellent
 
Medlar
Mespilus germanica
0.3
      0.15(estim)
-
[1]
Melon, cantaloupe
Cucumis melo
42
29*
very good
 
Melon, honeydew
Cucumis melo
25
20*
very good
 
**Muntingia
Muntingia calabura
80
4*(estim)
excellent
 
**Natal plum
Carissa macrocarpa
38
8
good
 
Orange
Citrus sinensis
53
70
excellent
 
Opuntia cactus
Opuntia spp.
23
no data
very good?
 
Papaya
Carica papaya
62
47*
excellent
 
**Pawpaw/Asimina
Asimina triloba
14
28(estim)
good
 
Passionfruit, purple
Passiflora edulis
30
5
 -
 
Peach
Prunus persica
7
6
 -
 
Peach, canned
Prunus persica
3
3
 -
 
Pear
Pyrus communis
4
7
 -
 
**Persimmon, American
Diospyros virginiana
66
13*(estim.)
excellent
 
Persimmon, Oriental
Diospyros kaki
40
40*(estim.)
excellent
 
Pineapple
Ananus comosus
15
13
good
 
Plum
Prunus sp
10
6
fairly good
 
Raspberry
Rubus spp.
25
       .5
-
 
Raspberry
Rubus spp.
23 to 32
0.7 to 1*
very good
[1]
Redcurrant
Ribes sativum
58 to 81
0.58 to 0.81*(estim)
good
[1]
Rosehip
Rosa pomifera cv.'Karpatia'
1,500
45(estim.)
excellent
[5]
Rosehip
Rosa sp. cv.'Pi Ro 3'
1,150
34(estim.)
very good
[5]
Rosehip
Rosa sp. cv.'Vitaminnyj-VNIVI'
2,000 to
2,500
60 to 75(estim.)
excellent
[5]
**Surinam cherry
Eugenia uniflora
26
2
 -
 
Sapodilla
Manilkara zapota
15
25
very good
 
Strawberry
Fragaria x ananassa
57
7*
very good
 
Tangerine/Mandarin
Citrus reticulata
31
26
very good
 
Tamarillo, red
Cyphomandra betaceae
40
40
excellent
 
Tamarillo, red
Cyphomandra betaceae
31
22
very good
[6]
Tamarillo, yellow
Cyphomandra betaceae
33
30
very good
[6]
Tamarillo, yellow
Cyphomandra betaceae
31
22
very good
 
Tomato
Lycopersicon sp
19
23
very good
 
Watermelon
Citrullus lanatus
10
27
very good
 
 
* The values are for one whole fruit, but no one (that I would want to know) eats a whole medium sized watermelon at a sitting, so for these larger fruit the value is for a slice, a 'slice' being, very generally, about an eighth of a medium sized fruit, or a quarter of a 'smaller' fruit.
In the particular case of lemon and lime, the 'slice' value is juice of one wedge.
For a few small fruit, such as Kei apple, the ranking is adjusted upward where the fruit mg/100 gram analysis shows it has large amounts of vitamin C,  but the small size of the fruit gives it a lower per fruit vitamin C content. You are likely to eat more than one at a serving. In the case of tiny fruit, like red or black currants, a lot more, but probably still only 20-30 raw fruit, especially if they are a bit acid..

 
** You won't find these fruit in the shops. They are natural environment fruits that we have not domesticated for one reason or another. Most will never be domesticated. Some can be grown at home in the backyard.
 
Asimina fruits range in vitamin C content from about 7mg/100 grams edible to about 21mg/100 grams, depending on the variety. Therefore some varieties are a 'good' source of vitamin C, others are a 'very good' source.
 

Links

Vitamin C a brief fact sheet on vitamin C and human health, and the forms and relative values of synthetic and natural vitamin C
URL: http://medical-library.net/sites/_ascorbic_acid_ascorbate_vitamin_c.html

 The vitamin C site discusses everything about vitamin C. It is fair to say that it is 'pro vitamin C'!
URL: http://www.cforyourself.com/
 
200 mg of vitamin C per day is optimal for healthy men. Research report - very significant.
 URL: http://www.dhhs.gov/news/press/1996pres/960415c.html
 
The vitamin C Foundation News all the news on the latest findings on vitamin C - and more.
URL:  http://www.vitamincfoundation.org/news.htm
 
A paper on the Ascorbic acid content of edible wild plants in USA includes information on how vitamin C is determined by scientists- see the section headed "method"
URL:  http://freenet.macatawa.org/~rimmer/Vitamin.htm
 
How to measure vitamin C with High School equipment- a "quick and dirty", but easy and simple method. Designed for fruit juice, but should work with juiced and filter fruit extract.
URL:  http://www.eecs.umich.edu/~coalitn/sciedoutreach/funexperiments/quickndirty/csustan/vitaminc.htm
 
Measuring the vitamin C content of an orange and a lemon. - same technology as above, clearly  laid out as a text book lesson for students to follow.
http://www.che.ilstu.edu/~otis/osr/welcome10.html
 
Measuring vitamin C in fruit juices - Comprehensive teachers guide- materials needed, skills, precautions, critical thinking, pitfalls, cross-curricula learning elements - a very detailed teachers guide for this activity. Excellent.
http://www.rohmhaas.com/company/plabs.dir/exp12.htm
 
Measuring vitamin C -for the technically minded, the problems of producing a standard so that laboratories can measure ascorbic acid with confidence. Some interesting general background on ascorbic acid included.
http://www.lgc.co.uk/best/terp/rm/provit/provit.htm
 
Measuring vitamin C in orange juice, lab task- upper school/college/university 101 level - a 'lab' on measuring vitamin C by the titration method, using a standard reference. Includes questions to answer at the end of the lab session.
http://wwwchem.csustan.edu/chem1112/1112VITC.HTM.
 
 
Notes
[1] Romero, M.A,. Rodriguez, et al 'Determination of Vitamin C and Organic acids in various fruits by HPLC'
 Journal of Chromatographic Science, Vol 30, Nov 1992, pages 433-437
 
[2] Vitamin C content has quite a range in the fruit of the geographic area analysed. The average content per fruit is average for the actual edible dried pulp of one fruit (traditionally added to hot or cold drinks) taken from the paper below-
M Sidibé, JF Scheuring, D Tembely, M M Sidibé, P Hofman, and M Frigg. 1996. 'Baobab - homegrown vitamin C for Africa'.
Agroforestry Today. 8:2. pp 13-15.
http://www.foundation.novartis.com/baobab_africa.htm
 
[3] Blueberry species vary in their vitamin C content. The vitamin C content  within the different commercial varieties within a given species also varies. I don't have data on the average for either any one blueberry species ('highbush' V. corymbosum, 'lowbush' Vaccinium angustifolium, or 'rabbiteye' V. asheii), or for the average content for any given variety within the species. At best they are a 'fairly good' source of vitamin C. The range for blueberries in general is from-
Prior, Ronald 1998, 'Antioxidant Capacity and Health Benefits of Fruits and Vegetables: Blueberries, the Leader of the Pack', in a presentation to the North American Blueberry Council.
 
[4] Levine M et al. 'Criteria and recommendations for vitamin C intake.'
JAMA  281(15): 1415-23. Apr 21 1999.
 
[5] My estimate of vitamin C per hip is not from the cultivar - - from which this vitamin C content was measured, but from a standard garden rose hip, which almost certainly has smaller hips. About half the weight of the hip is comprised of the inedible seed portion, so the vitamin content reflects that in the fruit wall only.
The figure for 'Karpatia' (a Czechoslovakian cultivar) is from -
Simanek, J. 'Menej známe ovocniny'. Priroda-Bratislava, 1977, pages 7-35. (Lesser known fruits).
The figure for 'Pi Ro 3' (a German cultivar)  is from -
Friedrich Schuricht.  'Seltenes kern, Stein-und Beerenobst'.  Neuman verlag,
Leipzig, 1985, pages 254-261
The figure for 'Vitaminnyj-VNIVI' (a Russian cultivar)  is from -
Schaitan-Klimenko: 'Dekorativnyj plodovyj sad'. Kiev, 1988, pages 215-217
 
[6] Visser F.R., & Burrows J.K. 1983 'Composition of New Zealand Foods - 1. Characteristic Fruits and Vegetables'.
DSIR Bulletin 235. Wellington. Page 35.
This particular data set is calculated from the edible part of the fruit. For feijoa, this is guesstimated to be 50% of the fruit weight (for the known cultivated varieties I am allowing 100 grams fruit weight), and for tamarillo the guesstimate is 70%.

[7] Luanda G.M., Ana M.S. and Jose T.F. 2006 'Freeze Drying Characteristics of Tropical Fruits'
.Drying Technology An International Journal, 2006, 24, pages 457-463.
Fruit weight for my calculation was guesstimated at 15 grams edible portion.


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