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
be taken as 'gospel', but rather as indicative. The vitamin C
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
the vitamin C content does the opposite, it rises with
Vitamin C content also decreases with storage. For example,
is an exceptionally rich source of vitamin C - a medium sized
74 mg, but a kiwifruit that has been coolstored for a while
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)
daily allowance (RDA) for an adult is 60 milligrams per day
on the amount of vitamin C needed to prevent clinical scurvy
body stores sufficient to prevent scurvy for around 30 days,
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.
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
camu camu, a shrubby tree of the Amazon, has the distinction
the highest recorded levels of any fruit, surpassing even the
recorded in the acerola. At 2.7 grams of ascorbic acid per 100
fruit, the ascorbic acid content is nothing short of
('Ascorbic acid' is
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
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  Barbados Cherry
Bilberry Vaccinium myrtillus 1 0.01*(estim) -  **Baobab Adonsonia digitata 150 to 499 100 exceptional  Breadfruit Artocarpus altilis 29 28* very good Blackberry Rubus sp. 6 0.6(estim) -  Blackcurrant Ribes nigrum 155 to 215 1.5 to 2*(estim.) excellent  Blueberry Vaccinium sp 1.3 to 16.4 no data* -  **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  Feijoa Feijoa sellowiana cv.'Triumph' 27 14 good  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* Kakadu Plum
Terminalia ferdinandiana 2300 to 3150 60 *(estim)
**Kei apple Dovyalis caffra 117 17 excellent* Kiwano™ Cucumis metuliferus 0.5 0.5 -  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) -  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 8-10 6 fairly good Quince
Raspberry Rubus spp. 25 .5 - Raspberry Rubus spp. 23 to 32 0.7 to 1* very good  Redcurrant Ribes sativum 58 to 81 0.58 to 0.81*(estim) good  Rosehip Rosa pomifera cv.'Karpatia' 1,500 45(estim.) excellent  Rosehip Rosa sp. cv.'Pi Ro 3' 1,150 34(estim.) very good  Rosehip Rosa sp. cv.'Vitaminnyj-VNIVI' 2,000 to 2,500 60 to 75(estim.) excellent  **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  Tamarillo, yellow Cyphomandra betaceae 33 30 very good  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.
Vitamin C - Wikipedia on the nutritional profile of Vitamin C. Absolutely outstanding.
Vitamin C a brief fact sheet on vitamin C and human health, and the forms and relative values of synthetic and natural vitamin C
The vitamin C site discusses everything about vitamin C. It is fair to say that it is 'pro vitamin C'!
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"
 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
 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.
 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.
 Levine M et al. 'Criteria and recommendations for vitamin C intake.'
JAMA 281(15): 1415-23. Apr 21 1999.
 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
 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%.
 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.
 Brand Miller, James & Maggiore 1993 'Tables of Composition of Australian Aboriginal Foods'
Aboriginal Studies Press, Canberra
These small fruit have extremely high contents of ascorbic acid, but their astringency and small size make it unlikely that more than a few fruit (availbale frozen) would be eaten at a time. Commercial soluble extracts of 4 large fruits (seed excluded) typically have about 250 mgs of vitamen C total.
The information in this site is largely the personal opinion of the author, although it is written in good faith. It is up to the reader to criticize, read alternative opinions and assertions, and come to an independant view. Do not rely on anything in this site being current, correct or factual. Any use of the word 'guide' is a guide to one side of the arguement, and should be understood as such.
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