Perfect Eating Oranges
These oranges are large and thick skinned and easily identified by the “belly-button” scar located at the apex of the fruit. The ‘belly button” is as a result of the growth of a second fruit which protrudes slightly and resembles a human navel.
Navels are seedless, easy to peel, are easily segmented, and have a sweet-tart flavour with less juice, compared to Valencia. These characteristics make them perfect for eating.
They can also be used for juice but should be squeezed as needed because the juice turns bitter over time, even when refrigerated. The slight bitterness results from high concentration of limonin and other limonoids.
What is Limonin?
Limonin is a natural compound and powerful antioxidant found in citrus fruits. But when limonin is exposed to air, it converts the enzymes and becomes very bitter — and the juice sours.
In navel oranges, limonin is found in the flesh, so when you juice it, that chemical goes to work within 30 minutes. In the Valencia, limonin resides in the seeds, so the juice stays fresher and sweeter much longer.
Navel oranges are somewhat higher in vitamin C than Valencias. 100g serving of California Navel oranges provides 95% of the RDA for vitamin C versus 82% for valencia.
The navel orange is a result of a single mutation, which left the fruit seedless, and sterile, it is therefore propagated through cutting and grafting. The fruits have the same genetic makeup as the original tree and are therefore clones.
California navels are somewhat more flavourful than those grown in Florida.
They are widely distributed and have a long growing season and are therefore very popular
Season: November to April in the USA