5 Common Citrus Varieties

Are you familiar with the 5 most common citrus varieties found in your produce section? Have you tried these different varieties? Do you have a favourite?

orange varieties
Tangelo, Moro Blood Orange, Navel and Cara Cara oranges.

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

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 5 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

Grapefruit and segments.Learn how to segment citrus here.

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
Try this easy Grapefruit Parfait: Grapefruit segments, yogurt and granola.

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.

Watch: How to Peel a Grapefruit

YouTube player

Tangelo

Tangelo – the super juicy orange with the knot on top.

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

blood orange, closeup.

Can you believe the colour of this orange?!  It’s definitely worth adding to your next salad.  The colour comes from an antioxidant called anthocyanin (found in most deep red coloured fruits and veggies).  But beware, that colour 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 orange closeup
Cara Cara with it’s rusty, salmon pinkish colour.

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 colour 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
Navel orange! Classic with the belly button on it’s blossom end.

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.

Watch: 4 Favorite Orange Varieties

YouTube player

Deep Dive Video: 5 Common Citrus Varieties

YouTube player
Follow Getty on YouTube for regular tips and inspiration in the kitchen.

More Citrus Recipes

BAKING & DESSERTS
SALADS

More Citrus Tips

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!

Select, store and serve seasonal food for everyday cooking with Getty. Getty is a food educator and Professional Home Economistwho loves sharing tips and recipes following the seasons from her Canadian kitchenSign up to get seasonal tips and recipes delivered to your inbox. Learn more about Getty or check out her books and pdf guides.

2 Comments

  1. I love oranges but want to learn how to can them. Do you have any suggested resources?
    They are too expensive to mess up.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.