‘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!
The Fresh Living Guide to Oranges
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.
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.
Bloor 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 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.
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.