How to Choose Oranges

During the winter month’s citrus fruit is in season and commonly available, They are great for eating by hand or juicing, because they are a popular winter fruit. I want share with you some tips for selecting, storing, handling and eating these orange colored delights.

 Oranges are available year round, but I have found that in winter months, navel and blood oranges seem to be the most common. Valencia’s start showing their best face between February through May.

Valencia oranges may have a few seeds and their skin is often a little thinner than the skin of the navel orange and it doesn't sport an actual navel. When Valencia's ripen on the tree it turns a bright orange color, but the warm temperatures of the season may make the skin reabsorb chlorophyll as ithangs on the tree causing a ripe orange to look partly green. Don't let this color shift trick you in to thinking that the orange is not ready to eat - it is perfectly ripe. Often times the "regreened" oranges are actually sweeter as the warmer temperatures elevate the fruit sugar content in the orange making for a sweeter tasting fruit.

When choosing Navels it important to make sure the fruit has an orange color all the way around without any greening whatsoever. It should have a nice equal orange color. Once the color passes this test, take a look at the navel part of the orange located on the opposite side of the stem side. Smaller navels tend to besweeter and juicier. When navels are large the skin is a lot thicker and usually less juicy. Feel the orange in your hand to check the weight, juicier oranges tend to weigh more and taste sweeter.

Blood oranges are available from December through May. They are usually smaller than the Navel or Valencia varieties and have a very thin skin with few or no seeds. The inside of the Blood Orange has a beautiful bright red to deep maroon interior color. Once you take a bite of this orange your taste buds will become an instantly hooked on Blood Orange and you will experience an overwhelming orange taste with a dash of fresh raspberry.

All oranges contain carotene - that's what makes them orange. Blood oranges get their red color from high concentrations of a pigment called anthocyanin, a powerful antioxidant that neutralizes the effects of free radicals which are the agents believed to be responsible for cancer, aging and other health ailments.

I usually buy a case of oranges every week which is around 72 oranges. If you keep them in a cool dry place they can last 2 weeks or more. If they are refrigerated they can go much longer. Rarely does a case last me more than a week.

There are more varieties of oranges out there with shorter seasons. Try them when they come around, experience the many citrusy flavors. You won’t regret it.
Don’t forget that you can mono meal your favorite oranges at any meal. Not just 1 or 2 for your meal, try 8, 12 or 15 oranges, whatever it takes to fill you up till the next meal.

I hope you enjoy and experience a variety of oranges during the winter months.

I love seasonal fruit, by the end of winter I’m looking forward to Watermelons.  :-)