11 Types of Oranges To Try (if You Haven’t Already)
There are few things we love more than a ripe, juicy, in-season orange. Here at Peels, we know just how versatile this vibrant fruit can be.
From juices to marmalades, marinades to salads, smoothies to adult-friendly beverages, and even just as a tasty, travel-friendly snack, oranges can add a delightful and wellness-boosting element when it comes to meal and snack time.
But, do you know just how many types of oranges there are out there? There are quite a lot, with each variety bringing a fresh look and flavor. And trust us when we say you’re going to want to try them all.
So what unique oranges should you seek out during your next trip to the grocery store, and which variety is best for what use? Find out with Peels!
Where Do Oranges Come From?
Oranges originated near Southern China, Northeast India, and Myanmar. Mentions of sweet oranges in Chinese literature date back to the early 300 BC, so humans have enjoyed these vitamin-C packed citrus fruits for thousands of years.
Today, orange trees grow in tropical and subtropical climates, and the majority of the world’s oranges are produced in Brazil, China, and India. In the United States, you’ll find the most orange trees in California and Florida.
Any type of orange you find will fall into one of two categories: bitter orange varieties or sweet orange varieties. The majority of oranges produced are considered sweet variants.
Both sweet and bitter oranges have their benefits. Read on to learn more about some of our favorite varieties here at Peels.
What Are the Types of Oranges To Try?
1. Navel Oranges
Navel oranges are one of the most common types of sweet oranges. These oranges are bright and juicy with a thick peel and pith (the white stiff directly underneath the peel).
These slightly oval oranges are named for the mark found opposite the stem on their rind that looks suspiciously like a human navel. The navel orange was originally found in Brazil and is available from November through June, though its peak season is January and February.
How To Best Enjoy Navel Oranges
Navel oranges are a versatile fruit that can be used for just about anything, thanks to their sweet flavor and seedless nature.
We love eating these oranges raw, as their thick rind is easy to peel, and we don’t have to worry about fishing out any loose seeds.
Their sweet flavor works well for juicing–but only if you plan on drinking them immediately. This is because they contain an antioxidant compound called limonin, which can create a bitter or sour taste when exposed to oxygen. This change in taste typically occurs when the navel orange has been exposed to oxygen for about half an hour or longer.
2. Cara Cara Oranges
The Cara Cara orange is a type of navel orange that has a sweet, tart flavor with blackberry, cranberry, raspberry, and rose notes.
This orange is similar to navel oranges in size and shape but has pinkish-red colored flesh due to its carotenoid pigments. You may hear this orange referred to as the red-fleshed navel orange.
With low acidity, the flavor of Cara Cara orange has notes of berries and cherries. While the Cara Cara orange trees were originally found in Venezuela, they are now commonly grown in California and are in season from December to April.
How To Best Enjoy Cara Cara Oranges
These sweet and tangy oranges have few seeds, making them ideal for eating raw, adding to salads, or juicing.
3. Valencia Oranges
Valencia oranges are well-loved for their juiciness. They are sweet but with a tartness that gives this brightly colored orange a delightful flavor.
While named after Valencia, Spain, these oranges were actually first harvested in California in the 1800s and are now commonly found in Florida. These summer citrus fruits are mainly available from March through July.
How To Best Enjoy Valencia Oranges
If you’re looking to make freshly squeezed orange juice, you won’t find anything better than the valencia orange. Valencia oranges have lots of juice packed within their thin skin.
Though they have seeds, they’re still enjoyable to snack on raw.
Like navel oranges, the seeds of Valencia contain limonin, so make sure to drink any Valencia-made orange juice shortly after juicing or store it in the fridge to avoid the risk of oxidation, turning your wonderfully sweet drink bitter.
4. Mandarin Oranges
Technically, mandarins aren’t oranges (oranges are a hybrid between mandarins and pomelos), but since they are thought of as oranges, we are including these wonderful little fruits on our list.
Mandarins are a small citrus fruit with loose and easily peelable skin and are a bit flat in shape. They’re in season from January through May.
How To Best Enjoy Mandarin Oranges
Mandarins are a great snacking orange, thanks to their size, sweetness, and lack of seeds (although you might come across a few seeds here and there). These fruits are also popular to include on salads and in baked goods.
5. Seville Oranges
Seville oranges are one of the bitter orange varieties. Also known as sour oranges, these small, yellowish oranges have a tart and bitter flavor.
Mainly found in Southeast Asia and the Mediterranean, Seville oranges date back to the 10th century and are best from December through February.
How To Best Enjoy Seville Oranges
Because these oranges are so acidic, Seville oranges are rarely enjoyed raw. However, they are ideal for making marmalades, as they will balance out the added sugar content. Their thick peel is also popularly used in marmalades. Seville oranges are also great in sweetened marinades, dressings, sauces, or cocktails.
6. Lima Oranges
You'll find lima oranges on the opposite end of the bitterness scale. Also known as acidless oranges, these small Brazilian treats have no acidity or bitterness, making them super sweet.
Lima oranges are commonly found in South America and the Mediterranean. Despite their thick peels, these oranges are soft and juicy.
Our only complaint about lima oranges is that their low acidity content means they don’t last long, so if you find a ripe one–eat it quickly!
How To Best Enjoy Lima Oranges
These sweet oranges are most often enjoyed raw, juiced, or baked goods despite their seeds.
7. Blood Oranges
You know this name is no joke if you’ve seen a blood orange before. The flesh of this juicy orange is a deep blood red. Blood oranges have a complex flavor, with notes of raspberry and a compelling mix of sweetness and tartness.
The sweetest type of blood orange is the Tarocco, while the Moro is the most tart, and the Sanguinello falls in the middle. The phenomenal coloring of the blood orange is due to its high concentration of anthocyanin pigment.
You’ll find these beauties most in season from late fall through the winter.
How To Best Enjoy Blood Oranges
The striking color of the blood orange makes it an ideal companion to liven up a cocktail or winter salad. You can also enjoy the unique flavor of the blood orange in desserts, raw, juiced, or marmalade.
8. Bergamot Oranges
Bergamot oranges are extremely sour oranges with a yellow or green peel, depending on their ripeness.
Originally found in Southern Italy, these oranges have a captivating aroma often used in aromatherapy or to add fragrance to perfumes.
How To Best Enjoy Bergamot Oranges
These bitter oranges are not typically eaten raw, but their peel is a main ingredient in the popular soothing Earl Grey tea. Bergamot oranges can also be enjoyed in marmalades and jellies.
Tangerines are actually a mandarin rather than an orange, but they’ve still earned a spot on our list! These bright citrus fruits are on the smaller and softer side and are sweeter than the typical orange.
You can find tangerines in season from November all the way through May.
How To Best Enjoy Tangerines
Because the skin of the tangerine is easily peeled, these sweet fruits are often snacked on raw. The peel can also be used in baked goods and drinks.
As a hybrid between a tangerine and a pomelo, tangelos are funky-shaped oranges with a sweet and tangy flavor.
Tangelos are commonly found in Florida and are in season from December through March.
How To Best Enjoy Tangelos
The tight skin of the tangelo can be hard to peel, making this fruit more challenging to snack on. Instead, the juicy tangelos are often enjoyed juiced, added to cocktails, zested, and candied.
A cross between a Willowleaf mandarin orange and a sweet orange, clementines are even smaller than tangerines and are a fan favorite across the board.
They have low acidity and a wonderfully sweet flavor with notes of honey. With loose skin and little pith, clementines are super easy to peel and enjoy on the go. Clementines are most in season from November through January.
How To Best Enjoy Clementines
When eaten raw, clementines make a bright and refreshing snack and can also be enjoyed in a salad or baked goods.
A New Way To Best Enjoy Oranges: Peels CBD
At Peels, we’re doing something that has never been done before. We’ve created a whole new way to enjoy oranges by using their peels to make bioidentical CBD.
CBD works naturally with the body’s endocannabinoid system to help maintain homeostasis by promoting full-body relaxation, calming the mind, easing tension, and soothing physical discomfort.
And because there is no THC in orange peels, there is no risk of THC in our CBD.
Whether you’re enjoying your new favorite orange variety juiced, zested, raw, or in a morning mimosa, you can pair it with a consistent dose of freshly-squeezed Peels CBD to further elevate your wellness routine.