Shopping for citrus: A guide to the different kinds of oranges
February 17, 2014
By Kate Walsh
Winter is often a sad time for produce shopping, especially when it comes to fruits. However, shoppers can count on orange citrus during these bleak gray months, as these are peak growing times in California and Florida. Famous for their vitamin C, orange citrus fruits also offer high amounts of potassium and fiber.
With so many choices in grocery stores, it can be hard to know what to shop for. Our handy guide to orange citrus is here to help.
Featuring a quasi-navel at one end, navel oranges are the ones from your childhood. With thick, easy-to-peel skin, their plump, seedless flesh separates into sections without much difficulty, making them a good choice for snacking. Navels also perform well in salad dressings and sauces, and their zest brightens up breads and desserts.
A special type of navel orange, seedless Cara Caras have sweet, pinkish red flesh with a hint of cranberry flavor. In addition to vitamin C, they’re a great source of vitamin A and also contain less acid than other types of citrus. Use Cara Caras in dressings or sauces — they pair especially well with fish.
Unlike their navel brethren, Valencias often have seeds, making them slightly less ideal for everyday snacking. However, this rich fruit makes absolutely delicious fresh OJ, whether you’re juicing with a machine or the old-fashioned way. Pick up Valencias while you can, as a bacteria deadly to trees has been affecting crops in California and Florida and could have serious repercussions on growing in the future.
The term mandarin orange actually encompasses a multitude of fruits, including tangerines and clementines. Thanks to their easy-to-peel skin, mandarins are a perfect choice for snacking (even at work), or as part of a healthy breakfast or lunch. Mandarins spoil fairly easily, and many stores only sell them in large bags, so refrigerate them for maximum longevity.
Named for their deep red flesh, blood oranges possess a flavor sweeter than that of most other oranges. They are an especially popular choice in the kitchen due to their versatility, lending themselves to everything from cocktails to salads to desserts.