If you eat and shop for food in season, check out the citrus aisle. Winter is peak time for oranges, and most stores are loaded with them.
The fruit brings some juicy health benefits, but the selection can be confusing.
You may find sweet Satsumas. And that darling clementine, also called a Christmas orange, may be available. But there are others like the Cara Cara, Honeybell (actually a tangerine-grapefruit hybrid) and blood oranges.
Their flesh varies from brilliant red or orange to salmon pink to orange streaked with crimson. Their flavor profiles are just as different, from sweet to super sweet to sweet-tart. And some are more chin-drippingly juicy than others.
So lets compare. Follow the guide to five varieties in stores now.
Know your oranges
Buy fruit that is heavy for its size and free of blemishes or soft spots. Most will keep at room temperature for about a week and in the refrigerator for three weeks.
Cara Cara: A low-acid navel orange. Seedless, sweet and tangy. Flesh is dark pink or reddish. Can be tough to peel. Add segments to salads and juice to sauces.
Honeybell: A bell-shaped cross between a tangerine and a grapefruit. Easy to peel. Super, super sweet and juicy. Best eaten out of hand. Get them now; their season ends in early February.
Blood: Moro variety is most common in stores; about the size of a tennis ball. Flesh is dark crimson and sweet-tart with berry notes. Skin may have maroon patches. Few or no seeds. Use juice in sauces and drinks, slices or segments in salads.
Clementine: An easy-to-peel mandarin orange, often called a Christmas orange. Sweet and most often seedless. A great snacking orange. Often sold in 5-pound boxes or 3-pound bags. Juice is great in vinaigrettes.
Satsuma: A mandarin orange with loose skin that peels easily. Seedless, sweet and juicy. Terrific snacking orange. Often sold with leaves attached, so it has decorative uses. Most canned mandarins are from Satsumas.
The Charlotte Observer welcomes your comments on news of the day. The more voices engaged in conversation, the better for us all, but do keep it civil. Please refrain from profanity, obscenity, spam, name-calling or attacking others for their views.
Have a news tip? You can send it to a local news editor; email email@example.com to send us your tip - or - consider joining the Public Insight Network and become a source for The Charlotte Observer.Read moreRead less