What is a Navel Orange?
Oranges have become part of our culinary heritage for generations. They are the star of many desserts, cookies, sauces, and are famous as a fresh fruit in their own right. From fresh orange slices that we eat out of hand, to jams that we spread on toast, to the thirst quenching juice that we drink, oranges are a part of our daily lives.
Of the many orange cultivars, one favorite is the sweet navel orange. Aside from its juiciness and superior taste, the Navel orange is also easy to peel and seedless to boot.
This specific cultivar was named Navel because at the blossom end the fruit has indentations similar to that of a human navel when viewed from the outside. This is caused by the undeveloped second twin fruit found on the blossom end of the main fruit. The two were connected when they first bloomed, and only one fully matured.
- Navel orange is a fruit from the species Citrus x sinensis or in everyday terms, a sweet orange in the rue family Rutaceae.
- Navel oranges are part of the winter citrus family, available during the Christmas holidays. Navel orange season begins in November and ends in June.
- Navel oranges are seedless because the flowers from which the fruits developed were not pollinated – the anthers of the navel flower do not develop pollen. In any case seedless navel oranges are one of our favorites because of this quirkiness.
- Be it medium or large navel orange, the skin is easy to peel and sections up prettily making them the perfect orange for eating out of hand.
- Since navel oranges are seedless the only way to propagate them is by grafting, or removing a blossoming bud from a navel orange tree and joining it to another compatible tree’s trunk.
- You are no longer limited to buy navel oranges from local grocers and stores. You can now order fresh navel oranges online and have them delivered right to your doorstep.
Navel Orange Nutrition and Application
Just like other citrus fruits, Navel oranges are packed with nutrients and minerals. Navels are a great source of Vitamin A and C, dietary fiber, thiamin, potassium and calcium.
Aside from fresh-eating and juicing, you can also use Navels as an ingredient when making salad recipes or baking. You can also use the juice and zest as flavoring for marinades, sauces, and syrups.