What are the Best Oranges for Juicing?

Orange juice is a popular beverage around the world, highly praised for its many health properties and sweet taste. Made from the extracted juice of ripe oranges, the tangy drink is chock-full of Vitamin C, potassium, and other antioxidants. When consumed on a regular basis, orange juice is known to improve heart health and decrease inflammation.

When it comes to homemade orange juice, it isn’t as simple as it might seem. There are several different types of oranges, each with their own set of pros and cons for juicing. Read on to learn the best oranges for juicing along with their availability, affordability, and varying sweetness.

The Different Types of Juicing Oranges

There are three common types of oranges for juicing, as well as a few less common but still delicious picks. Each range slightly in flavor, sweetness, and juicing ability, but it’s hard to go wrong with any of them! All juicing oranges can be found at your local grocery store (or Farmer’s market) and will only set you back a few bucks.

1. Navel

The first type of commonly juiced orange is the Navel, which is often referred to as the most popular orange for snacking. This fruit is typically a lighter orange color and is most recognizable from the “navel” located at the blossom end. Navels are seedless and grow between December and April, so you’ll often find them in the midst of winter.

Navels make great juicing oranges due to their sweetness and flavor. Additionally, they’re inexpensive and easy to find. However, Navel oranges have a chemical present in their peel known as Limonin, which emits a bitter taste. Therefore, Navel orange juice doesn’t keep as well and is best if consumed immediately.

a navel orange
A Navel Orange

2. Blood Orange

Blood oranges are another type of common juicing oranges named for their bright, ruby-red flesh. They are incredibly sweet and packed with flavor, making them a great choice for juice. Aside from their unique and spicy flavor, blood oranges are the highest orange in micronutrients and have a plethora of benefits for the human body.

While blood oranges are a fun orange to switch up your routine, they are not necessarily the best option if you’re on a budget. But if you aren’t worried about spending a little extra here and there, blood oranges are an awesome route to go.

blood oranges
Blood Oranges, named for their reddish color

3. Valencia

The third common orange, Valencia, is arguably the most popular for juicing. This fruit is highly praised for its incredible flavor and all-around sweetness, rating higher in both categories than the Navel. Valencias are the stereotypical picturesque orange; grown in Florida and bearing a shiny, bright-orange exterior. The biggest pro for these is their longer growing season, resulting in a smaller amount of Limonin and therefore less of a bitter taste. Valencia orange juice can last much longer than Navel juice without losing that tangy and delicious taste.

The main argument against Valencias is the same as that of blood oranges: the higher price tag. However, Valencias are pretty easy to find and are usually not going to break the bank.

valencia oranges
Valencia Oranges

There are a few other less common juicing oranges that are a great way to try something new while still reaping the benefits orange juice offers. These include tangerines and tangelos, which both offer a slightly more tart taste but pack a powerful amount of juice. No matter which orange you pick, your juice is sure to be delicious and full of nutrients!

Picking the Best Oranges for Juicing

Picking the best orange for juicing is really all up to personal preference. There isn’t one all-encompassing answer, as the different types do range and can suit a variety of tastes. Comparing different variables is a good way to decide which is the best for you. The next section will outline the varying sweetness, availability, and affordability to serve as a guide for picking the best fruit for your morning juice!

1. Sweetness

This may be the hardest way to distinguish oranges without having first-hand experience, as the three common types are all sweet to their own degree. The best way to decide which is sweet enough for you is to experiment! Sugar can always be added, but be sure that the natural juice itself isn’t too sweet for your tastes. However, it is commonly agreed upon that Valencias are the sweetest, Navels are the least sweet, and blood oranges rank somewhere in the middle.

2. Availability

Each orange has a different growing season, and therefore may not be available as often or for as long. It is best to choose an orange during its peak season, as it is most likely to be the most flavorful and juicy. Avoid choosing an orange at the grocery store once the season has passed; it may have been artificially colored and will likely not be as tasty.

Navel oranges are typically winter fruits, as the season stretches from December to April. Valencia oranges can be found between March and September, making them a great summer treat. Lastly, blood oranges grow in the fall and winter, between November and May. Therefore, it’s pretty easy to find juicing oranges year-round, but make sure to check the labels to avoid buying the wrong kind at the wrong time!

3. Affordability

All juicing oranges are very affordable, typically clocking in around $3 or less per pound. This can add up when buying in bulk, so it’s always a good idea to be aware of the varying prices. Buying a mix of oranges can also be a good way to switch it up while keeping a budget!

The cheapest orange per pound is the Navel, which costs around $1.33. Valencias are the second cheapest, at around $1.78 per pound. A pound of blood oranges will set you back even further, costing anywhere between $3 and $6!

Final Thoughts

Orange juice is one of the easiest beverages to make while delivering a ton of health benefits for the consumer. There is a myriad of different oranges on the market, each with their own flavor and sweetness. While it may seem intimidating to pick out the best oranges for juicing, it’s hard to go wrong in the end. Get out there and get juicing!

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Matt
Matt