Whether you juice them or eat them whole, oranges are a nutritious start to your family’s day! A baseball-sized citrus fruit with a tough orange skin containing juicy, segmented flesh. It may have a sweet to slightly bitter taste, depending on the variety. The primary purpose for these sweet varieties of oranges are juicing or eating.
Navel oranges are easy to spot in your produce aisle – they’re the ones with the button formation opposite the stem end – hence the name. A fabulous orange for eating out of hand, since its sweet pulp tends to turn a little bitter when exposed to air. More noteworthy characteristics are its seedless flesh, thick rinds that are easy to peel, and easily separated segments.
Valencia oranges are small to medium sized, may have a few seeds, and are some of the juiciest of any orange and just as sweet as the Navel with a thinner rind. The Valencia is a chameleon of sorts, turning a beautiful bright orange when ripe. If left on the tree in warm weather, however, the skin will reabsorb chlorophyll making it “re-green” even though it is still perfectly ripe and delicious inside. In fact, the “re-greened” ones are sometimes even sweeter than the beautiful orange ones!
Did you know that different varieties have particular seasons?
- Navel oranges usually arrive around the second week of November and go through late spring. In February, March, and April, this variety becomes a special treat as they get very sweet and display a vivid colour.
- Valencia oranges-often called summer oranges-are actually available from February through October, with peak supplies in May, June and July.
Whatever the variety, look for oranges that are shiny and heavy when held. As with many fruits, it is important to check the scent. This is especially important for oranges. The orange should smell good. Also, the rind should never feel puffy – that is, it should not feel like there is any space between it and the flesh.
In addition, look for oranges with uniformly smooth skin. Ripe oranges sometimes retain green streaks or slight rusting due to climatic conditions, but these do not always affect taste or quality and, therefore, skin colour is not a good guide. Avoid fruit with extremely soft ends or mould spots, dull and faded colouring, white patches, rough, grooved, or wrinkled skin, or have acquired a fermented smell.
Rinse thoroughly. Depending on your use, there’s a couple of preparation methods:
- Peeling Valencias is easy. Trim a thin slice from each end of the fruit, and then set orange on one of the end. Cut away strips of peel from top to bottom, until all peel is removed. Cut or separate segments into wedge pieces.
- Peel the skin with your hands, and then gently separate the fruit along the natural divisions.
o Squeeze thin-skinned oranges for juice. The healthiest choice would be to keep the pith on for added vitamins and nutrients.
- With skins still attached, cut into “smiles.” Then cut in half crosswise; then cut 3 or 4 wedges from each half.
- Use the zest, by using a fine grater.
The skin contains the real concentrate of flavour and essential oils so use every part of your orange whenever possible. The orange has many great uses:
- Juice them for breakfast, even for smoothies
- Add zest to pancake mixes or other baked goods
- Toss some navel orange sections on your favourite cereal, pancakes, and waffles.
- Eat them as a snack
- Make marmalade
- Ideal for salads
- Zest them use it for vinaigrette with garlic and olive oil
- Segments are served with seafood
- Use the juice to replace water in recipes where you want to add some extra flavour
- Frozen desserts
- Try this guilt-free treat: cut navel orange segments into low- or non-fat chocolate yogurt
- Add zest to pastry
- The fruit and its grated zest can be added to punch and cakes as a garnish
Total Fat: 0.22g
*Excellent source of: Vitamin C (97.8mg)
*Good source of: Thiamine (0.16mg), and Folate (55mcg)
*Foods that are an “excellent source” of a particular nutrient provide 20% or more of the Recommended Daily Value. Foods that are a “good source” of a particular nutrient provide between 10 and 20% of the Recommended Daily Value.
1 serving = 160 g (1 medium)
Very high in Vitamin C (135% Recommended Daily Intake per serving)
Very high in dietary fibre (7.0 g per serving)
High in folacin (21% Recommended Daily Intake per serving)
Source of potassium (270 mg per serving)
Sodium free (1 mg per serving)
Fat-free (0.2 g per serving)
- While Florida has long been marketed as God’s orange country, this most popular of citrus fruits actually originated in China. The bitter orange made its way into Europe by way of the Arabs in the 12th century, but it was another half-millennium before the sweet orange showed up in Mediterranean gardens. Columbus introduced the orange, along with so many fruits and vegetables, to the New World in 1493, and a hundred years later the seeds were literally sown for Florida’s enormous citrus industry. These days, California’s orange output rivals that of the Sunshine State, and the United States and Brazil together account for 70 per cent of world production.
- They are grown in regions with a subtropical or Mediterranean climate.
- The main varieties of cultivated oranges include the common sweet orange, the navel orange, the blood orange, and the bitter orange. There are also a number of orange-like fruits belonging to the species Citrus reticulata, which includes mandarins, satsumas, tangerines, and various hybrids of mandarins and oranges or other citrus fruits.
- The blood orange, or Temple orange, is a flavourful orange-tangerine cross that displays an orange and red rind with red flesh. It is named after the man who created it.
- Bitter oranges, also known as Seville oranges, are named after the Spanish city of origin. Extremely difficult to find fresh and are mainly used for marmalade or for their peel (in liqueurs).