Have you ever wondered what types of oranges are there? If you have, we've written a fascinating article just for you! Find out what varieties of oranges exist and how they differ from one another. You will definitely find out something new about your favourite fruit.
What is orange?
It is always fun to explain what an orange is, as it is, for the lack of a better word, an orange fruit. People across the world enjoy it for its delicious taste and abundance of vitamin C. A hybrid of pomelo and mandarin, orange is said to have originated in Asia, where it was mostly used for medicinal purposes.
The botanical name of orange can be Citrus × sinensis (sweet orange) or Citrus × aurantium (bitter orange), depending on its type. And boy, are there many types of oranges! When you look at several varieties together, it is even hard to see the ‘family resemblance’ at first sight, as they differ in appearance, shape, size and, most importantly, taste. Let’s get through some of the most popular and common types of oranges you might come across.
Types of orange fruit
As we have briefly mentioned before, there are sweet and bitter oranges. Each group includes many types, and we are going to list some of the most popular ones, starting with sweet orange varieties:
Based on the name, it is easy to guess that this type is the most common in the world. It includes numerous varieties that are more common for specific regions. For instance, Valencia and Hamlin oranges belong to the common category across the world. Jincheng is the most popular variety in China, Clanor is popular in South Africa, Belladonna is common for Italy, and so on. This type is most often used for making juices.
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This type of orange received its name due to its dark pigmentation: both its skin and pulp are deep red and resemble blood. The reason why they are so dark is because they contain lots of anthocyanin, which is responsible for the red hue. When it comes to taste, they are considered to be the tartest of all oranges. Just like common orange, blood orange has several varieties, such as Moro, Maltese, Scarlet Navel, Sanguinelli or Tarocco.
This type of orange is most often used for commercial import, which is why you can see it on the shelves more often than any other ones. Its distinctive feature is the nub resembling a bellybutton at the opposite end of the stem, which is actually a small underdeveloped orange.
Navel oranges are best consumed straight up, as they are not very sweet or juicy, so they are not great for making juices. Among navel oranges are such varieties as Cara cara, Dream navel or Bahia.
As you might have guessed from the name, this type of oranges contains low acid levels, which makes it sweeter than your average fruit. Acid-less oranges are usually produced for local consumption, as the lack of acid means that their shelf life is very limited. The same reason renders them useless for making juices, which is why they are best enjoyed immediately.
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Apart from your regular sweet oranges, you might also come across some fascinating hybrids. For instance, grapefruits actually come from crossing sweet orange and pomelo. A cross between grapefruit and orange is called orangelo. Oranges and tangerines equal tangors, and so on.
Now that we have talked about the sweet oranges, let’s consider bitter ones:
This group includes big seedy fruits. Most of them are often used for making marmalade thanks to their high content of pectin. Some varieties of bitter orange that are considered ‘normal’ are Brazilian, African, Oklawaha, Rubidoux and Trabut.
Oranges that belong to this group differ greatly from the ‘normal’ bitter oranges. For instance, Daidai oranges, which are popular in China and Japan, have thick peel, lots of seeds and acid pulp. Such oranges are usually used in medicine. Goleta oranges are medium-sized and have medium-sour flavour with little to no seeds. Bouquet oranges are small and deeply coloured, with acid pulp and few seeds. Bouquet orange trees are mostly grown as ornamental.
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Oranges from this group have darker pulp than that of the other bitter oranges, the peel is usually orange red. This type can be seen in the West Indies. An example of a variety from this group would be Paraguay orange, which is medium-sized, with moderate amount of seeds and sweet pulp.
Apart from the separate groups, there are also some notable varieties that should be mentioned, such as Citrus bergamia, or bergamot orange. It has a very distinct taste and smell, and it is used in making bergamot oil, perfume and tea. Earl Grey tea is actually made with Bergamot.
If you are a fan of cocktails, you must have heard of the Curaçao liqueur. But did you know that it is made with extract of the Laraha orange peels? The fruit itself, which is also known as the Curaçao orange, is so bitter that it cannot be considered edible, and, unlike its orange ‘brethren’, it is actually green. Even though it is inedible, people have found an application for its aromatic peel.
Obviously, we could never fit all the different orange varieties in one article, but this general classification seems to do a good job at sorting them by their common characteristics. Hopefully, with the orange pictures and our explanations, you will now be able to tell different types of oranges apart.
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