Oranges: Varieties & Differences

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Oranges are one of the most versatile fruits. Whether you are juicing, baking or making marmalade, oranges can do it all, yet not all oranges are created equal; each variety carries its own unique flavor and appearance.



Oranges are low calorie and a highly nutritious citrus fruit.

Did you know that one orange provides approximately 92% of the recommended daily amount of Vitamin C?

Here are just five popular types of oranges to consider and their characteristics while shopping.




1. Navel Oranges

These sweet, slightly bitter oranges are the most common variety. You’ll know a navel orange by visually seeing a mark on the bottom that resembles a belly button. Because of their inviting flavor and lack of seeds, navel oranges are a great pick for snacking on raw. Their sweetness also makes them great for juicing, as long as you’re going to drink it immediately. You can also use the zest in baking. Navel oranges are in season from November to June.



2. Cara Cara Oranges

Also called “red-fleshed” these navel oranges are famous for their low acidity and extra sweet flavor. Which make them the ideal candidate for snacks, raw dishes and juice. They also tend to have minimal seeds. They originally hail from Venezuela, but now they’re grown mostly in California from December to April.




3. Valencia Oranges

Valencia variety has thin skins and a ton of juice. You can also snack on them raw, so long as you keep an eye out for seeds. Despite its Spanish namesake, Valencia oranges were created in the mid-1800s in California; they’re also grown in Florida. Unlike other popular varieties, they’re mostly harvested in the summer from March through July.




4. Blood Oranges

The name originates from the deep red color of their flesh, which is also super juicy, sweet and tart. Their flavor is unique. There are three main types—Moro, Sanguinello and Tarocco—which range from tart to sweet. Blood oranges are most widely available from late fall through winter (about November to March).




5. Clementines

Oranges and tangerines are different varieties of the same species. Tangerines and clementines are classified as mandarins. Tiny, seedless and sweet. Like tangerines, clementines are easy to peel and eat, thanks to their little segments. A clementine is technically a tangor, which is a cross between a willowleaf mandarin orange and a sweet orange—that’s why they have such unique, honey-like sweetness and low acidity. Easy to peel because of their loose skin and minimal pith, which makes them great for snacking on raw, baking with or adding to a salad. Their peak season is November through January.


Citrus fruits begin to come into season in November and continue until June. When shopping, look for oranges and tangerines that feel heavy for their size, this means they have lots of juice. Oranges can range from tart, sour or sweet and succulent, next time you have an orange; try to find the subtle distinctions between them. Can you guess which variety it is without looking?




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