First of all there are three main types of oranges: bitter oranges, sweet oranges, and mandarins. Bitter oranges are used mainly to make jams, jellies, marinades, or in liqueurs. Sweet oranges include Navels, Valencia, and blood oranges. Naval oranges are the common easy to spot orange that is large, thick skinned, bright true orange in color and looks like it has a bellybutton on it, hence the term naval. Valencia oranges have a yellower tone, are smaller, have a thin skin that is difficult to peel and are perfect for making freshly squeezed o.j. Blood oranges are the smallest, have an orangy red skin, no seeds, and are sweeter and less acidic than other oranges. The unique thing about these natural beauties is that the flesh is either orange with red veins or a blood red color. When orange flavor is needed, yet you want to dazzle your guests, blood oranges are perfect to add to your culinary repertoire. Last, but not least, mandarins include a wide variety of fruits such as the tangerine, tangelo (cross between a grapefruit and a tangerine), and clementine. This group has a smaller fruit and a thin skin that comes off quite easy.
Currently in Florida, the ambersweet orange, naval orange, pineapple orange, orlando tangelo, sunburst tangerine, dancy tangerine, and minneola tangerine are all in season. When you purchase an orange look for ones that have healthy, vibrant, glossy looking skins and feel heavy for their size. The heavier they are the juicier they are. (Those of you with dirty minds, can chuckle over that sentence.) Store at room temperature for juicer fruits that will be eaten soon. If not eating soon, store mandarins in the fridge unwrapped up to 1 week and oranges up to 2 weeks. So now that you know a little bit more about these nutritional, aromatic, and vibrant delicacies, let's discuss how you can enjoy them.
Oranges are really versatile, and aside from the tasty, quick snack or morning beverage, can be used in many dishes. Try these salad variations by combining the following ingredients with a citrus vinaigrette: