Everyone loves oranges because they are the sweetest and better tasting of the citrus fruits. Oranges help boost the immune system and nourish the body with important nutrients it needs to fight off diseases. With a sweet and juicy interior, oranges are perfect for a light and healthy snack. Here are the most popular varieties and their typical availability:
1. Navel Oranges – Navel oranges are large and round with a deep yellowish-orange color. The skin is stony with a medium-thick peel. Navel oranges are usually seedless and really easy to peel and are in season from November through February. Other types of Navels are the Holiday Red Navel Oranges, in season November through December, and the Western Navel Oranges from growers in California’s San Joaquin Valley, which are in season January through May.
2. Temple Oranges – Temples are Florida’s finest eating oranges, with an oval shape and deep orange color. They have a rich sweet and tangy flavor, are easy to peel or section, and few seeds. Temple Oranges are in season from January through February.
3. Valencia Oranges – Valencias have a juicy, rich flavor and aroma. It is medium to large in size, a round-to-oval shape, and a yellow to orange color that sometimes can be tinged green. The Valencia Oranges has a smooth texture with a thin peel and are in season from March through June.
4. Clementines – Small oranges with a deep and glossy orange exterior that is a relative of the tangerine. Clementines are a small and usually seedless variety of the mandarin. They are refreshing, both sweet and tart, and best whole or in salads. They are usually available November through January.
5. Tangelos – Known by their distinctive bell shape, tangelos are the result of a cross between a tangerine and a grapefruit for a remarkably sweet and juicy fruit. They are loaded with sweetly tart juice and have a stony texture skin, which is fairly easy to peel. Tangelos are in season November through December. The most popular tangelo variety is the Minneola Tangelo, often called the Honeybell Tangelo. Honeybells have a deep red-orange color with a very sweet flavor, high juice content and only a few seeds. Honeybell Tangelos are in season from December through February.
6. Tangerines – Tangerines are a small, dark orange fruit with an easy-to-peel or “zipper” skin, and a rich and honey sweet juice. Tangerines are ideal for desserts or as a sweet nibble. Some of the tangerine varieties available nationwide are Sunburst or Treasure Coast Tangerines, in season November through April, and the Murcott or Honey Tangerines, available February through April.
7. Ortaniques – Ortaniques are a rare cross between a sweet Valencia Orange and a Tangerine. They have a bright orange color, a rich sweet flavor and are easy to peel and section. This hybrid blend received its unique name from OR-orange, TAN-gerine, un-IQUE. Richly luscious and loaded with Vitamin C, the Ortanique is perfect for eating fresh as a snack and for juicing. These oranges can only be found online, directly from Florida growers. Available March through April.