10 Common Types of Oranges | What Are They Best For?


By: The Foodie’s Avenue

Delve into the mouthwatering world of oranges as we explore 10 common types from around the globe. From the sweet Navel to the zesty Valencia, join us on a citrusy adventure filled with diverse flavors and juicy delights.

Photo: The Foodie’s Avenue

What are oranges?

Oranges are a type of citrus fruit belonging to the Rutaceae family. They are round or oval in shape, and their bright orange color is a hallmark characteristic. Oranges are known for their juicy, pulpy flesh and distinctive sweet-tangy flavor.

The scientific name for the common sweet orange is Citrus sinensis. There are numerous varieties and cultivars of oranges, each with its own unique taste, texture, and characteristics. Some of the popular orange varieties include Navel oranges, Valencia oranges, Blood oranges, Clementines, and Mandarins.

These versatile fruits are widely consumed fresh, juiced, or used in various culinary dishes and beverages. Due to their popularity and availability, oranges have become one of the most widely cultivated and traded fruits around the world.

1. Naval Orange

Photo: Jen Gunter

The Navel orange (Citrus sinensis) is one of the most popular and widely grown types of oranges worldwide. Named for the characteristic “navel” or belly-button-like mark on its blossom end, this seedless variety is a favourite among citrus lovers for its exceptional sweetness and easy-to-peel nature.

They are typically in season during the winter months, making them a delightful addition to holiday festivities and a refreshing way to brighten up cold, gloomy days. Additionally, their high juice content and sweet flavour make them an excellent choice for juicing, adding zest to beverages and desserts.

  • Seedless: The Navel orange is a seedless variety, making it convenient and mess-free to enjoy as a snack or in culinary preparations.
  • Sweet Flavour: Known for its exceptional sweetness, the Navel orange boasts a delightful taste with just a hint of acidity to balance its flavour profile.
  • Easy-to-Peel: The Navel orange’s smooth, bright orange skin is relatively easy to remove, making it a hassle-free and enjoyable fruit to eat.
  • Juicy and Tender: Beneath its easy-to-peel rind, the Navel orange offers juicy and tender flesh, adding to its appeal as a refreshing and satisfying treat.
  • Winter Season: Navel oranges are typically in season during the winter months, adding a bright burst of citrus flavour to holiday festivities and cold, gloomy days.

2. Blood Orange

Photo: The Foodie’s Avenue

At first glance, the Blood orange’s appearance may seem similar to regular oranges, but its allure lies beneath the surface. With a slice, the magic unfolds as deep hues of red, maroon, and ruby reveal themselves, creating a feast for the eyes. The striking colour of the Blood orange is a result of anthocyanins, a rare group of antioxidants more commonly associated with berries. This unique pigment is a treat for the taste buds, imparting a subtle raspberry-like tang to the fruit’s sweet foundation.

Its seasonal availability during the winter months adds a burst of colour to holiday festivities, making it a sought-after treasure among citrus enthusiasts. Packed with vitamin C and versatile in culinary creations, the Blood orange remains a true jewel among oranges, elevating it to a class of its own in the citrus family.

  • Striking Appearance: The Blood orange’s most distinctive trait is its visually captivating crimson-coloured flesh, which sets it apart from other citrus fruits. The deep red, maroon, and ruby hues create an alluring contrast with its orange peel.
  • Berry-Like Flavor: Blood oranges offer a unique taste profile with a delightful blend of sweetness and subtle tartness reminiscent of raspberries. The presence of anthocyanins contributes to this distinctive flavour, making it stand out among other orange varieties.
  • Culinary Versatility: The Blood orange’s striking appearance and distinct flavour make it a sought-after ingredient in culinary creations. It is often used in salads, desserts, beverages, and sauces, adding an elegant touch to various dishes.

3. Mandarin

Photo: Karolina Kołodziejczak

Mandarins are cherished for their petite size and sweet flavour, captivating taste buds worldwide for centuries. Recognisable by their easy-to-peel, bright orange skin, mandarins reveal tender, juicy segments with a burst of citrus aroma. Their delightful balance of sweetness and tanginess makes them a convenient and healthy snack.

They also hold cultural significance, symbolising good luck in various traditions. Available during the winter months, they add a burst of sunshine to cold days and make a delightful addition to salads, desserts, and beverages. Embrace the joy of mandarins as nature’s delightful gift, elevating moments with their sweetness and cultural appeal.

  • Easy-to-Peel: Recognisable by their thin and bright orange skin, mandarins are effortless to peel, revealing tender, juicy segments.
  • Petite Size: Mandarins are cherished for their small and compact size, making them a convenient and portable snack.
  • Sweet Flavour: Known for their delightful balance of sweetness and tanginess, mandarins offer a deliciously enjoyable taste.
  • Cultural Significance: With their symbolic representation of good luck and prosperity in various cultures, mandarins hold cultural importance and are often offered as gifts during festive occasions.

4. Valencia Orange

Photo: Philippe Gauthier

Valencia oranges are a versatile and zesty citrus variety, cherished for their exceptional juiciness and distinctive sweet-tangy flavour. With a vibrant orange skin and refreshing aroma, they thrive in warm climates, providing a steady supply of fresh and flavoursome oranges from late spring to early autumn. Highly valued for their high juice content and nutritional benefits, Valencia oranges are a preferred choice for juicing, eating fresh, or enhancing culinary creations. Savour the tangy sweetness of Valencia oranges and let their versatility brighten up your culinary experiences.

  • Juiciness: Valencia oranges are renowned for their high juice content, making them an excellent choice for producing delicious and refreshing orange juice.
  • Sweet-Tangy Flavour: These oranges offer a distinctive flavour profile with a delightful balance of sweetness and subtle tartness.
  • Extended Growing Season: Valencia oranges have an extended growing season, thriving in warm climates and remaining available from late spring to early autumn.

5. Tangerine

Photo: Michele Blackwell

Tangerines are cherished for their petite size and irresistible sweetness. With their easy-to-peel bright orange skin, tangerines reveal juicy, tender segments that burst with a delightful citrus aroma. Often associated with joy and prosperity, they add a burst of sunshine to winter days and are treasured during festive celebrations.

  • Easy-to-Peel: Recognisable by their bright orange skin, tangerines are effortlessly peeled, revealing juicy, tender segments.
  • Sweetness: Tangerines are cherished for their irresistible sweetness, making them a delightful citrus fruit.
  • Festive Symbolism: Often associated with joy and prosperity, tangerines add a burst of sunshine to winter days and hold cultural significance during festive celebrations.

6. Clementine

Photo: Jonathan Pielmayer

Clementines are petite citrus fruits cherished for their delightful sweetness and easy peeling. With their bright orange skin, juicy, seedless segments, and rich nutritional value, they offer a convenient and refreshing snack. Whether enjoyed fresh or incorporated into culinary creations, Clementines add a touch of sunshine to every moment, making them a favourite addition to various dishes.

  • Easy-to-Peel: Recognisable by their bright orange skin, Clementines are effortlessly peeled, revealing juicy, seedless segments.
  • Petite Size: With their compact and convenient size, Clementines make for a handy and portable snack.
  • Versatility: Whether enjoyed fresh, juiced, or added to culinary creations, Clementines are a versatile and refreshing addition to various dishes and beverages.

7. Cara Cara Orange

Photo: The Foodies Avenue

Cara Cara oranges are captivating citrus gems known for its stunning pinkish-red flesh. Beyond their visually striking appearance, the Cara Cara orange offers a unique taste experience. The flavour is a delightful fusion of sweet and tangy notes with hints of berries and roses, setting it apart from other orange varieties. Each juicy segment bursts with a refreshing and aromatic surprise, making it a truly delightful addition to any citrus lover’s palate. Seasonal in late winter and early spring, Cara Cara oranges elevate dishes with elegance. Embrace their beauty, savour their taste, and relish the joy of citrus adventures.

  • Rosy Appearance: Cara Cara oranges stand out with their pinkish-red flesh, a stunning visual delight.
  • Distinct Flavour: These citrus gems offer a unique taste experience with a delightful blend of sweet and tangy notes, enriched with hints of berries and roses.
  • Seasonal Availability: Cara Cara oranges are typically available during late winter and early spring, making them a welcomed treat during colder months.

8. Seville Orange

Photo: Rob Wicks

Originally from Southeast Asia, these citrus jewels found their way to Seville, Spain, where they earned their name and gained popularity around the world. Seville oranges are distinctive with their bitter-sweet taste, thick dimpled rind, and culinary versatility. Popular for marmalades, sauces, and jams, they add depth to dishes. Short seasonal availability from late winter to early spring.

  • Bitter-Sweet Taste: Seville oranges are distinct with their bitter-sweet flavour, setting them apart from other citrus fruits.
  • Thick Dimpled Rind: Recognisable by their thick, dimpled, and deeply orange rind, Seville oranges have a unique appearance.
  • Culinary Versatility: Highly sought after for creating marmalades, jams, and sauces, Seville oranges add depth and complexity to various dishes.

9. Tangelo

Photo: Hoyoung Choi

Tangelo is a hybrid of tangerine and grapefruit. It offers a refreshing taste with a blend of sweetness and zest. Recognizable by its vibrant thin orange skin, tangelos are prized for juicy, seedless segments that combine sweet and slightly tart notes. Available during winter, tangelos add a burst of refreshing flavour to dishes and beverages. Embrace the charm and versatility of this captivating citrus hybrid for a unique citrus experience

  • Hybrid Fruit: Tangelo is a unique citrus fruit resulting from the cross between a tangerine and a grapefruit.
  • Sweet and Zesty Taste: Tangelos offer a delightful blend of sweetness and zest, combining the best of both parent fruits.
  • Juicy Seedless Segments: The fruit’s tender and juicy segments are seedless, making it a convenient and mess-free snack.

10. Bergamot

Photo: The Foodies Avenue

Bergamot is a fragrant and versatile citrus fruit, famed for its essential oil used in perfumes. Its yellow or greenish-yellow appearance and unique aroma set it apart. In culinary applications, bergamot adds citrusy flavour to dishes and tea. The essential oil offers potential relaxing and soothing properties in aromatherapy. Traditionally used for digestion and skincare benefits. Thrives in the Mediterranean climate, primarily grown in Calabria, Italy. A treasured and cherished citrus jewel for perfumery, gastronomy, and wellbeing.

  • Fragrance: Bergamot is renowned for its captivating and aromatic scent, making it a prized ingredient in perfumes and scented products.
  • Appearance: The fruit has a small, round lime-like shape with a vibrant yellow or greenish-yellow skin, often featuring a bumpy texture.
  • Culinary Versatility: Bergamot’s zest and essence add a unique and citrusy flavour to various culinary dishes and beverages, including tea.

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