At FruitRevival we always have some kind of orange available throughout the year, usually either the Navel or Valencia varieties (the two most common varieties). Oranges are great sources of dietary fiber and vitamin C, and can generally help prevent the build-up of bad cholesterol, while lowering your risk of heart disease, high blood pressure, stroke, and cataracts. While navel and Valencia oranges are the most popular and widely available, there are many other varieties of oranges and tangerines that are worth your while to check out, and we are always excited to show customers new and exotic varieties they may not have tried otherwise. Our customers have been enjoying Satsuma mandarins for the last several months but, unfortunately, they’re done for the year (always a sad day because the Satsuma variety is, without a doubt, one of my favorite varieties that we feature). But when one fruit goes out of season there’s always something else new becoming available, and do we have some INCREDIBLE citrus varieties for delivery next week and beyond. Allow me to introduce the Navel Orange, the Cara Cara Orange and the Blood Orange.
Navel Oranges are, mostly, grown in California and are typically in season from early November through the late spring and sometimes early summer. However, like any seasonal fruit, the quality is noticeably better during the peak months. Navel oranges are sweetest during the months of February, March, and April. During the extreme ends of the season, navel oranges look more yellow than orange, are less sweet, and the flesh can be dry and chewy. Our navel oranges are SUPER sweet already and are only getting sweeter as each week passes – I can’t imagine how delicious they will be in April!
These oranges are named for the navel located at the end of the fruit. The size of the actual navel varies, but the larger ones look just like a bellybutton! If you’re shopping at the supermarket and aren’t sure what type of orange you’re looking at, look for the navel! Navels are considered one of the absolute best varieties for eating out of hand – Navel oranges are seedless, they are relatively easy to peel, the flesh is meaty and extremely sweet, and once peeled, the segments of flesh are easily separated. Navel oranges are very low in sodium, cholesterol, and saturated fat, are good sources of dietary fiber and folate, and have very high levels of vitamin C (one orange can have 100% of your recommended daily value!).
Cara Cara Oranges
The Cara Cara orange, a type of navel orange originally from Venezuela, is most easily distinguished by their bright pink flesh and distinctive flavor. Otherwise, they tend to look like other navel oranges from their outward appearance. Our Cara Cara oranges are larger and rounder than the regular Navel oranges we have stocked, if that helps you to tell the difference before you cut it open. The Cara Cara variety is sweet, juicy, seedless, and have lower acidity than other varieties. Lower acidity means these oranges are great for individuals with sensitive stomachs or those prone to heartburn (like me!) and other digestive issues. Cara Cara oranges are great sources of vitamin A, vitamin C, and dietary fiber. They are also a good source of folate (like other navel oranges) and potassium. Cara Caras also naturally contain Lycopene, a powerful antioxidant that fights disease. These oranges have a distinct flavor – I pick up a sweet, tangy sort of grapefruit flavor (much sweeter though, with just a hint of tartness). Cut one open and try one for yourself!
The blood orange originally comes from Spain and Sicily, sometimes referred to as “Sicilian Blood Oranges.” Depending on your location, the typical season for the blood orange runs from January through April and the beginning of May. The skin of the blood orange has a distinct red-colored blush, caused by colder nights during the growing period. This red blush foreshadows what lies within the rind – a bright red, sometimes deep maroon flesh with little to no seeds. While blood oranges tend to be slightly less sweet than other varieties, they have a unique flavor that is all their own – tangy and slightly sweet and I usually taste a subtle berry flavor reminiscent of blueberries, raspberries, and sometimes cranberries.
Oranges get their color from carotene (found in just about anything orange such as carrots, sweet potatoes, pumpkins, winter squash, and also kale, spinach, and other types of produce). However, blood oranges get their red color from a pigment called “anthocyanin.” Anthocyanin is a powerful antioxidant that helps combat free radicals, and could slow and even prevent the growth of cancer cells. Additionally, blood oranges are a great source of vitamin C, vitamin A, iron, calcium, and dietary fiber.
I sincerely hope all of our customers enjoy these delicious orange varieties, whether you’re eating them in hand or jazzing up your lunchtime salad. If you’re not already a customer and want to get in on some of this delicious citrus, sign up for a delivery today! Thanks for reading and please share our news!