What’s the Difference Between a Navel Orange and a Temple?
Do you love oranges? If so, you’re not alone…oranges are delicious, super-nutritious, and low-calorie, making them an awesome snack. They’re also great in many recipes, from salads to desserts! But if you’ve only ever sampled the oranges offered by your local grocery store, you may not realize how many types of oranges there are for you to try.
There are many kinds of oranges available today, all of them fitting under one of three categories: sweet oranges (commonly used for eating fresh and juicing), bitter oranges (ideal for marmalades and orange-flavored liqueurs) and mandarin oranges. Mandarin oranges (which can be enjoyed fresh or in recipes) are not actually true oranges, but a separate type of citrus with many varieties and subgroups of its own (including tangerines and temple oranges, which are a mandarin/sweet orange hybrid).
The navel orange is, arguably, the world’s most popular orange. But what exactly is a navel orange? Here are the answers to some common questions about this universally loved citrus fruit:
- What is a navel orange? Navel oranges are known for the second fruit that grows at their blossom end. This second, undeveloped fruit resembles a human navel, giving the navel orange its name. Navel oranges have a thick, easy-to-peel skin, are less juicy than other oranges (making them better for snacking over juicing as compared with, for example, Valencia vs. navel oranges), and have a sweet-tangy flavor that’s very popular with citrus fans.
- Do navel oranges have seeds? One of the great things about navel oranges (apart from their taste!) is the fact that they’re seedless, making them perfect for snacking. Because navel oranges are seedless, a navel orange tree is propagated through cutting and grafting.
- Is there more than one type of navel orange? When asked, “what’s a navel orange?” most people think of the classic navel orange, but there are actually a number of varieties out there. Some of the more popular varieties that define navel oranges include:
- The cara cara navel orange. Also known as the red navel orange, the cara cara navel is a sweet, low-acid orange with a bright orange rind and pink-red flesh. Cara caras are less tangy than other oranges, with floral undertones in their flavor.
- The Washington navel orange. Also known as the California navel or Bahia navel, this orange is a mutation of the regular sweet orange that was discovered in a monastery orchard in Brazil in 1820. In 1870, a cutting from the navel orange was sent to Washington, DC, and became thus known as the Washington navel orange. Buds from the original Washington navel tree were then grafted onto California sweet orange trees; the Parent Washington Navel Orange Tree, grown in Riverside County, California, was designated a California Historic Landmark in1932.
- The Dream navel orange. Developed in Orlando, Florida, the dream navel is the smallest true navel orange size. It is juicy and sweet with a rich color and flavor. Its harvest season is brief for a winter orange (October to January), but the tree’s size and easy-care quality make it popular with amateur gardeners.
- The Late navel orange. A Washington navel hybrid, the late navel is a summer orange developed in Australia. Consumers can enjoy its fine, rich flavor throughout the spring and summer.
- What health benefits do navel oranges have? When it comes to navel orange nutrition, the benefits are many. Oranges are excellent sources of vitamins C and A, as well as other vitamins and minerals (including thiamin, folate and potassium). Even the oil in navel oranges is good for you – studies show that orange essential oil can help you sleep better, concentrate more and feel happier!
- How many calories in a navel orange? Oranges offer a nutritious, low-calorie addition to your diet. Made up mostly of carbs (there are about 12 carbs in navel oranges), in a large navel orange calories come out to about 87 (there are only 47 medium navel orange calories).
Sweet, zesty, tangy and delicious, oranges of all kinds are make a healthy, delightful way to please your palate, so don’t limit yourself to just a few types – experiment with the different varieties and take your taste buds on an adventure!