5 Common Citrus Varieties

citrus varieties

Are you familiar with the citrus varieties found in your produce section?

Have you tried these different varieties?  Do you have a favorite?

Read more: How to Peel and Eat a Honey Pomelo, How to Segment Citrus Fruits, Citrus Salad with Honey Vinaigrette, Favourite Citrus Recipes

Identifying orange varieties outside and inside

In addition to lemons and limes, here are some of the most common citrus varieties you’ll find in stores between January to March/April.  While exact nutrient content varies, they’re all a healthy, nutritious addition to our diet.  In addition to Vitamin C,  they also offer Vitamin A, potassium, antioxidants like lycopene and beta-carotene and folic acid.

Top Five Citrus Varieties

Here are five citrus varieties listed in order from most tart to sweetest – of course those terms are relative and flavors may vary based on growing conditions.

Grapefruit

pink grapefruit

Isn’t it beautiful?!  I wait for Texas grapefruit to hit the shelves to make my favorite breakfast food Grapefruit Granola Parfait. Yum!

grapefruit parfait w

Peel away the pith (the white part of the peel) and those inner membranes between the segments (they contain that slightly bitter taste), and your left with that sweet yet tangy grapefruity flavor.  Almost like an orange blended with a cranberry in a little package that bursts with juicy freshness as you take a bite.  Pair that with a creamy yogurt and a crunchy granola and you’ve got a winning combination.

Tangelo

tangelo

Boy oh boy, this Minneola tangelo is juicy!  A cross between a grapefruit and a tangerine this citrus fruit is the perfect transition from grapefruit to orange.  As a member of the tangerine family (mandarins are part of that family too) it’s one of the easiest oranges to peel – making it a great choice for kids’ lunchboxes.  It’s also one of the easiest to recognize with that little nubbin’ on the stem end.

Blood Orange

moro blood orange

Can you believe the color of this orange?!  It’s definitely worth adding to your next salad.  The color comes from an antioxidant called anthocyanin (found in most deep red colored fruits and veggies).  But beware, that color does stain – my cutting board and white shirt are proof!

Moro oranges have thinner skins that are a little tricky to peel.  They’re quite juicy and have an intense, slightly tart flavor – orange meets raspberry.  Apparently they make awesome marmalade (I may just have to try that!).

Cara Cara Orange

Cara Cara Navel Orange

Hello Cara Cara!  I never used to pay attention to the Cara Cara navel orange variety before, but I look for it by name now.  And really, the only way to distinguish it from other navel oranges is by the little sticker that says Cara Cara.  It comes in the same sizes and has the same thick, bumpy, orange peel as other navel oranges.  Inside, its flesh looks more like a grapefruit with a pink, ruby or salmon color to it.

The Cara Cara is juicy and sweet with a wee bit of berry undertones (like describing a fine wine!).  It’s also considered a low acid orange – yup a low-acid orange! How do you like them apples – um, I mean oranges?!

Navel Orange

navel orange

And here we have the classic navel orange, known for the tell tale belly button on it’s blossom end.  The sweetest of the bunch, navel oranges will always have a place in our fruit basket.  It’s not as juicy as some of the other varieties, but it has the classic taste and characteristics of an orange.  Perfect for eating as is or in salads, breakfasts, desserts or preserves.

Video: Learn about 5 different common citrus varieties

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My Favourite Citrus Varieties in Recipes

blood and navel orange celery salad with pecans red onions and goat cheese
BAKING & DESSERTS
SALADS
lime bar with fresh lime

Favourite Tips and Techniques for Different Citrus Varieties

Let me know your favorite citrus and if you make a recipe using citrus, take a photo and tag #getgettys so I can see it and like it!

Sign up to get articles by Getty delivered to your inbox. You’ll get recipes, practical tips and great food information like this. Getty is a Professional Home Economist,  speaker and writer putting good food on tables and agendas.  She is the author of Manitoba’s best-selling Prairie Fruit Cookbook, Founder of Fruit Share, a mom and veggie gardener.

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