The prime season for fresh oranges is during the winter months. Most of us know oranges are an excellent source of vitamin C. But, did you know that fresh oranges are also good source of fiber, potassium, vitamin A and folic acid?
Which is better – a glass of orange juice or a whole orange? The whole orange provides more fiber and less calories and natural sugars than a glass of orange juice. And, you can easily carry an orange with you for an anytime snack.
|Freshly Squeezed Orange juice – 8 oz||Medium orange|
|Vitamin C||124 mg (207% of the RDA)||96 mg (160% of the RDA)|
|Potassium||496 mg||326 mg|
Have you ever noticed how many varieties of oranges are available at the grocery store – Navels, Valencias, Mandarins, Cuties, Tangerines, etc. What’s the difference between all of these?
Navel oranges are common in the produce aisle. Peak availability is in January, February and March. Navels are the ones with the button formation opposite the stem end. These are considered excellent for eating since their thick skin is peeled easily, the sections are easy to separate, and they’re relatively seedless. Cara cara navels have a sweet, pink flesh and result from a cross between 2 varieties of navel oranges.
These are also fairly common and about the same size as navel oranges or slightly smaller. They have a thinner skin, so are a little more difficult to peel. Valencias are valued for juicing because of their high juice content.
These oranges are smaller than the standard orange. The species originated in China, thus the name. One Mandarin orange provides about half the day’s recommendation for vitamin C, 50 calories, 2 grams of fiber, and many other vitamins, minerals and antioxidants. The flesh of some Mandarins is a very deep orange. The deeper the color, the higher content of vitamin A and antioxidants.
Cuties are the common, modern name for Clementines. They’re a variety of mandarin orange. The plant is sterile and has to be grafted for production, so there are no seeds. Being seedless, they’re especially valued as a children’s snack.
These are another type of Mandarin orange. They are very tart and have lots of seeds. Because of the seeds and the fact they’re harder to peel than other mandarins, these oranges are better for juicing than hand-snacking.
The dark orange flesh is the result of high levels of phytochemicals (anthocyanins). These are especially good when juiced since they often don’t break into sections well.