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Oranges: California vs. Florida

A fond farewell to the apple harvest -we're in citrus season in North America now. My mother always preferred Florida navels to California navels, and I agree. The FL ones are less available and seem to come at the start of the season. I find that while the segments are a paler color, they are usually sweeter and juicier than their west coast cousins, and have thinner skin. Do you have a preference? I also like Temple oranges but rarely see them.

There are now many more varieties of tangerine than when I was young, and I like them all.
Red grapefruits seem more popular now than yellow ones, and have more potassium.

Mom's tried and true tips for choosing thin-skinned, juicy citrus are to pick ones that are heavy for their size (that's obvious) and to look for skins that are shiny and smooth, with the least amount of "pores", for lack of a better term, on the surface.

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  1. I grew-up in Cali and I was taught heavy = juicy, a puckered (small) navel = sour, and a well developed (big) navel = sweet, even if the orange has some green on it.

    1. I've always preferred in season California navels. Easy to peel, and super sweet. I've always found that the inner skin surrounding the flesh was much thinner and easier to chew than the Fla ones. I'm awaitin the citrus here, my fruit markets don't have any navels that look like they are worth trying yet. The prices are surely coming down, but the oranges themselves don't even look good yet. The apples are still rolling tho. I LOVE orange season. I usually eat six or so a day when we're in "the thick" of it. Right now, however, I'm still up to my ears in honeycrisps, and they are still under a buck a lb.

      1. GG, Temples *drive me wild*...I remember eating them in NJ growing up and always loved them...and now I live in SWFL and love them...it seems to be a very short season...January to February, possibly March, maybe...and that's it..they are the BEST!!!! So juicy, tangy, pebbly skinned, easy to peel...<swoon> oh my!!!! Cali oranges are alright, that's all we can get in the depths of the summers and I do appreciate them and eat them...Florida oranges are juicier, in my opinion. But, oh....those temples......!!!!! Here's more info' in case anyone, sadly, does not know what we're talking about:
        http://www.practicallyedible.com/edib...

        1. I'm a big lover of Florida citrus. When I lived in Indiana, we got Florida citrus. I live in Colorado now, and the only good citrus I can find are honey tangerines from Florida and Texas Rio Star grapefruit. The navel oranges we get here from California are really sad--dry, and sour, and they don't ever seem to ripen up. My favorites from Florida are Honeybells, which only have a 4-6 week season beginning in January, and the super juicy and sweet Red Flame grapefruit. Florida Valencias are amazing as well.

          1. I'm generally much happier with Florida oranges and the orange relatives. I mostly juice my oranges, and the navels just don't taste as good when you juice 'em. And a big fat yes to honeybells!

            1. I agree that FL oranges are much sweeter than CA oranges. I grew up on FL oranges and still adore them when I can get them. I now live in Southern CA and honestly these oranges are less sweet.

              1. FYI, Texas grows very good oranges along the Rio Grande valley later in the season than Cali. They come from the same areas that produce Texas Ruby Red grapefruit.

                1 Reply
                1. re: slewfoot

                  Good to know about the timing - unfortunately, grapefruit are now off my radar since I take a medication that precludes consuming grapefruit.

                2. jfood stopped buying Cali navels a few years ago. the FL oranges that make it to CT are far sweeter, juicier with thinner membranes.

                  1. I feel like a traitor to my natal state, but I greatly prefer Florida citrus.

                    1 Reply
                    1. re: pikawicca

                      Louisiana. I have ordered from Florida and Cali, and I greatly prefer Louisiana: http://www.eclipseplantation.com/

                      Luckily I live a few miles from their packing house.