Not all oranges are good for juicing! Different types of oranges have been specifically developed for snacking and others for cooking.
In this guide, we will discuss the best juice oranges and give instruction on when and where to purchase them.
New to juicing? Check out our guide on How To Start Juicing.
Navel Oranges - Sweetest Oranges
Navel oranges are large, seedless oranges that are very popular.
You can recognize this type of orange because it seems to have a "navel". Under this navel you will find a small orange inside of the large orange.
The size, flavor, juiciness and novelty of this type of orange make them a popular all around choice for snacking, cooking and juicing.
You can purchase Navel oranges all year round, but the best time to purchase them is during the winter months (November – January). Navel oranges are grown in Florida, Texas and California. The best crop source may change from year to year dependent upon the weather. Stable weather conditions help ensure a steady and abundant crop.
Valencia - Classic Juice Orange
Most commercial orange juice is made of Valencia oranges. The Valencia is another seedless orange that is tasty for snacking, but is especially suited for juicing.
While this type of orange is not seedless, it generally tends to have very few seeds. Typically you will not find more than 7 seeds in a Valencia orange.
Valencia vs Navel
Most Valencia oranges are grown in Florida, and they have a slightly longer growing season than Navel oranges. Typically they are available from October to January. There is a second harvest between March and April.
Clementines & Tangerines
The Clementine is a hybrid orange that was created in Algeria by a French missionary named Clement Rodier around the turn of the 20th Century. It is a cross between a standard orange and a Mandarin orange.
This orange was introduced to the United States about 25 years ago and quickly became a popular choice for juicing, snacking and cooking.
The Clementine is very juicy and both its juice and its zest make excellent additions to sauces, vinaigrettes, marinades and more.
Clementine sections are a nice addition to salads in the wintertime, and they can also be poached or combined with other fruit in compote.
Some Clementines are grown in California, but the vast majority of them come from Morocco, Spain, Israel and South Africa. Availability of the Clementine in the US is hit and miss dependent upon production and transportation.
Tangerines are typically a lighter orange color and are slightly tart compared to Clementines. They contain Synephrine (Bitter Orange) which is known as a weight loss aid in various dietary supplements. It may be one of the reasons we typically see Tangerines at Christmas time. There are varieties of tangerines that contain seeds, but typically very few.
Both of these oranges are in the Mandarin family and have easy to peel skins. To the novice, both oranges will look very similar so it’s important to take notice of the labels in the grocery store.
The Blood Orange has slightly lower acid content than the other oranges mentioned here. This sweet, very juicy orange has a dark red color that is indicative of the presence of anthocyanin.
This is a pigment that is usually found in very nourishing vegetables such as beets. Its presence gives the Blood Orange an even higher antioxidant quality than other types of oranges.
Blood Oranges are very sweet and juicy and are an excellent choice for making freshly squeezed juice. Segments of the Blood Orange also make a nice addition to compotes, salads, sorbets and the like. They are a common ingredient in high-quality English marmalade.
There are three types of Blood Oranges. They are:
While the Blood Orange originated in India, today it is grown primarily in Spain and Sicily. Additionally, there are now some growers in California, Florida and Texas.
Blood Oranges from Texas are fairly reliably available from December through March. The California crop is available from November to May. Availability of imported Blood Oranges and those from Florida varies.
Best Time To Buy Oranges
With modern cultivation methods, it is possible to get fresh fruit including oranges all year round. Be that as it may, there are still preferred seasons for purchasing oranges. Generally speaking, in the US the best time of year to buy citrus fruits of all kinds is during the holiday season (November - January).
Although it is possible to purchase oranges all year round in the US, the quality of oranges will naturally vary from season to season. When you are choosing oranges for fresh squeezing or for snacking, look for a deep, rich orange color that is appropriate to the type of orange you are selecting. Blood Oranges should be reddish in color.
No matter what type of orange you purchase, the surface should be firm and the skin smooth. An orange for juicing should have some heft when you pick it up. It should not feel light. A heavy orange indicates an abundance of juice.
In addition to looking at and feeling the oranges you are selecting, be sure to take a whiff! Sniff the orange at the point where the stem was attached. You should smell a sweet, fresh, citrusy scent. If the orange smells sour, it means that it is old and starting to turn bad.
Health Benefits Of Orange Juice
Freshly squeezed orange juice supports healthy thyroid and adrenal functions and contains a balanced amount of natural sugars that encourage a healthy metabolic rate. Clearly, it is far wiser to choose to make your own freshly squeezed orange juice rather than giving up orange juice altogether.
From time-to-time health gurus come out with some proclamation or other that flies in the face of logic.
The current one is that orange juice is dreadfully bad for you and you should avoid it altogether. This is simply too illogical to be true. Oranges are good for you, and by extension orange juice should also be good for you.
The truth is that bottled or frozen orange juice may indeed be bad for you because the pasteurization process it undergoes removes valuable enzymes. Additionally, bottled juice may contain artificial flavorings that are not listed on the label.
Furthermore, bottled juice is highly concentrated and therefore contains far more calories and sucrose than you would find in natural, squeezed orange juice.
All of these points are usually presented as a way of convincing people not to drink orange juice at all. The fact of the matter is, freshly squeezed orange juice is extremely good for you. It contains a wealth of beneficial enzymes, antioxidants, vitamin C, magnesium, potassium and more.
Juicing Oranges Is Easy & Inexpensive
You may be surprised to know that you do not need an expensive juicer to make your own freshly squeezed orange juice.
An old-fashioned manual juicer or squeezer works fine and allows you to quickly make a glass of fresh juice at a time with very little mess or trouble.
Follow the advice presented here to start your day with tasty, healthy freshly squeezed orange juice every day.