US CALIFORNIAN CITRUS
It begins with the freshest fruit available. Southern California is the largest grower of fresh citrus fruit in the Western United States. The life cycle of a citrus tree is unlike any other kind of plant. In Southern California, these trees truly use each and every month to develop. In other words, there is no down time in the orange, lemon or grapefruit grove.
The growing season for California navel oranges is from November to the end of June. Not only, but is orange out of season? People can buy navel oranges almost at any time, but true navel orange lovers are best to buy oranges between November and January when the taste is perfect. Fruits get better at other times, but this is the season when natural growers release the best treats.
Navel Orange – In winter it is considered one of the sweetest orange varieties you can find. The navel is a seedless orange with an identifiable “navel-like” formation on the opposite side of the stem end. This is caused by the rudimentary secondary fruit that grows inside the skin of the primary0 fruit.
Sweet and juicy California-grown Navel oranges are named for the navel-like formation on their blossom end. Navel oranges are seedless and full of flavor, with a pleasant floral aroma, and it’s the unique growing conditions of California that create the sweetest, juiciest fruit.
With their slightly thick, easy-to-peel skin, Navel oranges make the perfect on-the-go snack in your bag. Their classic orange taste (refreshingly tart and sweet) boosts the flavor of any sweet or savory dish or beverage. Consider adding fresh-squeezed juice or segments to recipes or water for an added boost of vitamin C, and zest for an added punch of flavor.
Packed with vitamin C (90% DV*) and a good source of fiber (11% DV) and folate (10% DV), this delicious California-grown orange is available November through June.
To keep your Navel oranges–or any citrus–fresh longer, make sure to store it in the refrigerator at a temperature below 42 degrees.
Striking the perfect balance of tart and sweet, this summer orange differs from other California orange varieties with its thin, slightly pebbly rind and occasional seeds.
Valencia oranges are extremely juicy, and are perfect for a freshly-squeezed mimosa, smoothie, or the classic freshly-squeezed glass of orange juice. Valencia oranges can also be segmented, sliced and zested to boost the flavor of any recipe, and can be charred on the grill to up-level the flavor of all summer grilling recipes. Just remember to bring your citrus to room temperature before cooking with it to ensure you get the most juice.
An excellent source of vitamin C (70% DV) and folate (20% DV), Valencia oranges are in season February through early November with peak availability from July through October.
CARA CARA ORANGE
Cara Cara oranges offer an exceptionally sweet flavor and a delightful tropical aroma. While they look like classic Navel oranges from the outside, they are slightly less acidic and their seedless interior is a rich pink hue due to the natural presence of the antioxidant, lycopene.
Not only are California-grown Cara Cara oranges a delectably sweet addition to any recipe, they also add a gorgeous pop of rich pink color when segmented into a salad or are freshly squeezed into a cocktail.
The “C” letters in this orange’s name are fitting, as a single Cara Cara orange provides 100% of the daily recommended amount of vitamin C. Yep… 100%. This outstanding orange is in season December through May.
When shopping for Cara Cara oranges, or any citrus for that matter, choose fruit that smells fresh and feels heavy for its size. That’s a sure sign it’s going to be juicy!
The clementine is a cross between a mandarin and sweet orange, simple to peel and almost always seedless (as opposed to the seedy tangerine). The juice is sweeter than many oranges and there is far less acid, making it one of the most popular snacking citrus fruits available. Unlike much of the citrus listed here, clementine season is very short and typically peaks around the holidays, imparting the nickname “Christmas orange.”
In season: November-January
The tangerine is a close cousin to the clementine. They’re small, sweet and very snackable (which is why you likely found these packed in your lunch as a child). The big difference is sweetness — the tangerine has less — and seeds. The tangerine has more seeds. Many more.
In season: October-January
Citrus growers are well placed throughout Australia to provide exceptional tasting citrus from winter through to summer. The key citrus varieties are navels, valencias and mandarins.
Navels are one of the most popular orange varieties and available during the winter from June – October. They are sweet and juicy, rich in orange colour, seedless and easy to peel. They are mainly grown in three southern growing regions – the Murray Valley, the Riverina of NSW and the Riverland of South Australia.
Valencias are one of the most common orange varieties, and available from November to February – the summer months. They are deliciously sweet and juicy and ideal for juicing. Valencias are mainly grown in the Riverina.
Mandarins are available from April to October. Imperials are the most popular mandarin variety, they are easy to peel, have few seeds, if any, and have an excellent sweet flavour. Mandarins are mainly grown in the Queensland region and certain southern areas.
Grapefruits are available all year and, as with most citrus, there are a number of varieties available. For example, the red grapefruit is known for its red interior colour, sweet taste and seedless qualities.
Lemon and Limes
Lemons and limes are available all year, but the best limes are available from January to April.