What is the difference between a Navel and Valencia Orange?

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

Of all the citrus fruits produced all over the world, oranges account for the majority of the fruit production and make up the highest-value crop when it comes to international trade. How could it not be? People are drawn to and just love the naturally sweet and refreshing flavors of oranges no matter what season it is.

There are many orange varieties in the market but there are two cultivars that top all the charts: the sweet snacking Navel Orange and the refreshingly juicy Valencia Orange.

Sweet Differences

Navels and Valencias are sweet oranges of the genus Citrus x sinensis and byproducts of the sweet mandarin and the tart pomelo. Seventy-five percent of the genetic make-up of oranges is from the mandarin. Although both are of the same genus, there are a few notable differences between the two.

  1. Outside Appearance
  • Florida Valencia Oranges, which were named after the city of Valencia in Spain, are medium-sized oranges with thin, bright orange, finely-textured rinds that are somewhat difficult to peel.
  • Navel Oranges are large, spherical oranges with thick, deep-orange, loose rinds that are easy to peel. The rind is also moderately pebbled and roughly pitted and can be easily recognized because of the ?navel-like? formation opposite the stem end.
  1. Taste
  • Valencia oranges are juicy and have the perfect ratio of sweet-tart flavor making them great juicing oranges. The juice is refreshing and can be stored for a long time since the natural compound Limonin, which turns the fruit bitter, is found in the seeds and not in the flesh.
  • Navels are deliciously sweet oranges with less tang than Valencia oranges. They are wonderful to snack on and tossed in a salad to give a sweet and refreshing flavor. Keep in mind that if you wish to juice Navel oranges, make sure to drink it as soon as you juice it as there is Limonin is in the flesh of this fruit and the juice quickly turns bitter.
  1. Season
  • Being a summer fruit, you can buy Valencia oranges from March until October. You can also pre-order Valencia oranges online and get them delivered to you straight from the grove. Buying fruits directly from farms is better than buying them from grocery stores since fruits are only picked when they are in their prime form (shape, ripeness).
  • Navel oranges are in season from November to June and are in peak supplies from January until May. Because they ripen during the cold seasons, they are aptly called winter oranges.
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