An orange packs a lot of nutrition into its juicy, edible pulp. The average orange provides vitamin C, folate, thiamine, fiber, potassium and about 60 calories of wholesome energy. The fat-free, sodium-free fruit also contains natural sugars, giving the orange a sweet, dessert-like quality. Find the sweetest oranges in your grocer’s aisles or at local farmer’s market stands by evaluating each orange’s physical characteristics, such as color and weight.
Browse for oranges with a slight greenness or yellow tint to the skin. While you might associate sweet, juicy ripeness with bright orange skin, the yellow-orange and green-orange fruits are among the juiciest, sweetest oranges, and are fully ripened.
Look for the smallest oranges in the group. According to “Haley’s Hints” by Graham and Rosemary Haley and David McNiven, smaller oranges have a sweeter taste in general.
Smell the orange. The ripest, sweetest oranges strongly emit the scent of their sweet juices.
Choose extra juicy, sweet oranges by comparing similarly sized small oranges by individual weight. The heavier oranges contain more juice.
Select a firm, round orange free of softened, puffy or creased spots, which indicate damage that could affect your orange's sweetness. Don’t worry about light scratches or marks on the skin, however; Florida oranges rub against tree trunks and branches in the windy weather, but these marks, called “wind-scarring,” don’t affect the oranges’ taste.
- “Sunshine State Almanac and Book of Florida-related Stuff”; Phil Philcox and Beverly Boe; 1999
- “Movable Feasts: The History, Science, and Lore of Food”; Gregory McNamee; 2007
- “Haley's Hints”; Graham Haley, Rosemary Haley, and David McNiven; 2004
Katherine Harder kicked off her writing career in 1999 in the San Antonio magazine "Xeriscapes." She's since worked many freelance gigs. Harder also ghostwrites for blogs and websites. She is the proud owner of a (surprisingly useful) Bachelor of Arts in English from Texas State University.