Facts About Honeybells (Honeybell Oranges)

Pictured: Ripe Honeybells from Hale Groves

Honeybell oranges, also known as Minneola tangelos, are a citrus fruit. They are actually hybrids of a Darcy tangerine and Duncan grapefruit; and sometimes with the Bowen grapefruit and Darcy tangerine.

Honeybells are usually the size of an adult fist and has a mixed sweet n sour flavor of the sweet mandarin and the tart flavored grapefruit. They’re also very juicy – usually way more juice than it has flesh. Since they have loose skin, they are pretty easy to peel, especially when compared to regular oranges.

In 1931, the Honeybell oranges were released by the U.S. Department of Agriculture Horticulture Research Station in Orlando. You can easily identify Honeybells by their stem-end neck, which gives it a bell shape, which gave it its name.

It has a bright red orange color when it is fully mature. The skin is thin, making it a quick snack. Although it comes from a tangerine mix, they come in large sizes; usually between 3 and 3 ½ inches in diameter. You can also find between 0 and 12 seeds – 10 on average – in each Honeybell orange.

These oranges are very fruitful on their own, so they must be interplanted with pollenizers, like Sunburst tangerines, Temple tangerines or Fallglo tangerines, but each year there is usually a full crop to be plucked. Farmers usually plant them with mandarin orange or tangelo trees – this helps with the cross pollination and the crop overall. You can find them ripening between December and February – January is the peak month.

These make for great fruits during the winter.
The best place for the Honeybell to grow is in Floridian climates. They aren’t the most profitable orange to grow because their crop sizes are very unpredictable each year. Some years will offer abundance and others scarcity – this is why sometimes you see that they cost a bit more one year and cheaper the next. It is still the most popularly grown of the tangelo types.
Honeybell oranges are great for all sorts of dishes, including fruit salads, green salads and fruit drinks. Some even put vinaigrette dressing on them. Honeybells can also be placed on top of focaccia. Grilled honeybell oranges are also a popular choice. Marinades made with Honeybell oranges too make a great choice.

So this fruit is definitely a great choice for summertime meals and desserts. Honeybell oranges are popular all over the world.

5 comments on “Facts About Honeybells (Honeybell Oranges)

  1. Nancy

    Wanting to find out why I might be having a second showing of our Honeybell Oranges. First in Jan-Feb. now Aug.-Sept. We have had this tree since 2006 very old and each year only one season Jan-Feb. but for some reason 20013 it is now acting different, Any ideas please write me back. TY-Nancy

    1. Sandy Sachs, Senior Editor

      You may contact the Florida Citrus Association for information regarding your question.

  2. I h kallens

    does honey belle oranges have seeds. ??bought honeybell oranges..they loaded with seeds
    I think I got wrong oranges!!

  3. Steve p

    A honeybell cut in half like a grapefruit and served with a small bowl of vanilla ice cream is a fantastic dessert. First squeeze a little juice over the ice cream and then honeybell comes out so easily and a section of fruit with taste of vanilla ice cream will take you back to the days of eating dreamsicles.