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‘Tis the season when — unless you live in sunny climes, in which case I don’t want to hear it — the only colorful, ripe, perfect fruit at the grocery store is from the citrus family.  Which means oranges, and lots of ’em.

On the off chance that you need this reminder, oranges are healthy
because they contain: immune-boosting vitamin C,
blood-pressure-lowering flavonoids, digestive-system-boosting dietary
fiber, and disease-fighting antioxidants galore.  So give one a squeeze!

Last year, I wrote up a guide to the different types of oranges you may encounter.  It seems like a good day to reprieve it!

The Fresh Living Guide to Oranges

Navel
The “navel” of these sweet, thick-skinned oranges is an
inverted bump that remains on the blossom end of the fruit. It’s
actually a mutation dating back to the 1820s that results in a tiny,
second fruit (a “conjoined twin”) developing at that end. Navel oranges
mostly come from California.

Valencia
These thinner-skinned oranges are generally
associated with Florida. Valencias are sweet fruits that boast a later, longer growing season
than navel oranges, so they’re often used for juice when other citrus is
not available.

Blood
Blood oranges get their signature scarlet tinge from a
pigment called anthocyanin, which is a healthful antioxidant also found in some deep-red apples.  Blood oranges are often used in savory dishes, like salads or
with grilled fish or meats, in addition to cocktails, sorbets, and
other sweets.

Cara Cara
Cara Cara oranges are a type of navel orange, but with a slightly more tart flavor
than a standard navel.  Their color is also more on the pinkish end of
the spectrum, almost looking like a grapefruit.  Cara Cara oranges are
lower in acid than other oranges, so they’re a good choice for those
with acid sensitivities.

Tangelo
This small, sweet
fruit is a hybrid between a tangerine (which is the same thing as a
mandarin orange, by the way) and a grapefruit. Like their cousins
tangerines and clementines, tangelos are wonderful out-of-hand fruits,
as they’re sweet, delicious, and easy to peel.  

So, tell: what’s your favorite way to orange?  What’s your favorite variety?  Are you a zester, a squeezer, a pulper, a slicer, or a segmenter?

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