What are the Differences Between Oranges and Tangerines?

By: The Hale Groves Team | On: | Category: Fruit Facts

Oranges, tangerines, lemons, limes, and grapefruits are all important crops from the genus citrus in the flowering rue family, Rutaceae. Collectively known as citrus, these fruits have brought about the rise of their own industry in the United States. Of the many citrus varieties Citron, Pomelo, and Mandarin are the most significant as they are the parents of most citrus cultivars and hybrids that we enjoy.

Orange or Tangerine?

In the genus citrus, the most common fruit are oranges and tangerines. Because of their similarity, many shoppers sometimes mistake them for each other. We have gathered these five factors to help you differentiate between the orange and the tangerine.

  1. Origin
    • Oranges are a pomelo and mandarin hybrid, originate from Asia, and are the fruits of Citrus sinensis or the sweet orange species of trees. Oranges are mostly grown and produced in Florida, California, Arizona, and Texas. Some examples of oranges are Navel, Valencia, and Blood Orange.
    • Tangerine, or Citrus tangerine, is a group of red-orange colored citrus fruits that are hybrids of mandarins. They were first grown in the 1800?s by Major Atway in Palatka, Florida and are said to have been imported from Tangier, Morocco thus the name Tangerine that means of Tangier.
  2. Appearance
  • Oranges may differ somewhat in size and shape depending on the variety, but the fruits are mostly globular. However, a good rule of thumb is that oranges (like sweet navel oranges) grow to a bigger size compared to tangerines. Furthermore, oranges have a bright yellow-orange peel that is slightly more adherent to the flesh.
  • Tangerines are typically smaller, less rounded, and characterized by flattened tops and bottoms. They have a loose, reddish-orange skin that is easy to peel and the segments can be easily separated.
  1. Flavor
  • Oranges in general are sweet with a refreshing tart flavor. Some, like the Navel variety, are sweeter than the other cultivars. Oranges are also more acidic having a 2.4-3 pH value.
  • Tangerines on the other hand are even sweeter than oranges, less acidic, have a shorter aftertaste, and are more flavorful.
  1. Tangerines and Oranges in Season
  • Oranges and tangerines are available year round depending on the cultivar. Navels are available in winter while Valencias are in season in summer. As for tangerines you can find different cultivars available in different seasons.
  1. Nutrition Facts
  • Tangerines and Oranges have similar nutrient profiles. The only notable differences are that oranges have more vitamin C and soluble fiber while tangerines contain more calories and vitamin A per serving.

Navel orange nutrition vs Tangerine Nutrition

? Orange Tangerine
Calories 47 53
Carbs 11.7g 13.3g
Fiber 2.4g 1.8g
Vitamin A 4%DV 14%DV
Vitamin C 89%DV 44%DV
Potassium 5%DV 5%DV
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