233233016_cd217ea949.jpgDeep into winter as we are, it’s time to get your Vitamin C on.  How to choose which kind of orange to stock up on?  Here’s a brief guide to the major types you’ll see at the store.

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.

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.

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: how do you orange?  What’s your favorite variety?  Are you a zester, a squeezer, a pulper, a slicer, or a segmenter?

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