A vitamin goldmine with their antioxidants, vitamin C and the pigment beta-cryptoxanthin, oranges are one of the most popular fruits in the world. They were first cultivated in China around 2500 BC and are assumed to have originated in southern China, northeastern India and perhaps southeastern Asia. As of 1987, orange trees were found to be the most cultivated fruit tree in the world.
Navels are a clone of a mutant orange dating back almost 200 years. Easily identifiable from the outside by the navel-like circle at one end, these oranges also have additional tiny wedges just inside the navel. The navel is actually the formative peel of the secondary fruit, developing on the side opposite the stem. Seedless, the rich, juicy flavour of this orange makes it delicious for eating out of hand.
Cara Cara is a navel orange with a flavourful, juicy pink flesh reminiscent of strawberries and raspberries. It’s sweet and mildly acidic. Cara Cara is called Red Navel and ripens from autumn into winter. These oranges can be juiced, eaten or cooked into jams, jellies and other spreads. Production early May to mid/late June.
Navellates are also known as late navels. This type of eating orange is characterised by its deep orange colour and it delivers a delicious sweet burst of juicy goodness. Production is between early/mid-April and end-July/early August.
Valencias are named for the city of Valencia in Spain, although the variety is thought to have originated in China or India. Valued for their high juice content and availability outside of the typical citrus season, Valencia oranges are usually thin-skinned and have a few seeds. They’re considered one of the best oranges for juicing.
Delta is a smooth-rinded South African variety which resembles the Valencia but matures somewhat earlier. It’s a seedless fruit of high quality and is popular because it’s less acidic and thus great-tasting. Production is mid-June to mid-October.
Midknight is a larger fruit and virtually seedless. It has a high juice percentage and its intense flavour makes it excellent for eating or juicing. Production mid-June to end-September.