Varieties

Many orange varieties exist for consumers to enjoy and the industry is constantly trying to produce new and exciting varieties to meet consumer demands and needs. The main varieties of oranges are: Summer Navel (Lane Late, Barnfield and Wilson), Valencia (Valencia), and Winter Navel (Washington, Navelina and Leng). 38% of the orange area is planted to Winter Navels, 45% to Valencia and 17% to Summer Navels. (ref: PIRSA Horticulture)

All oranges should be plump and juicy!

Navel oranges – sweet, juicy and full of zest. Usually seedless, they are easy to peel and ideal as a healthy snack at any time of the day.

Navel and Navelina are seedless oranges that take their names from the Navel protuberance at the end, which contains a tiny embryonic fruit. They have thick, pebbly skins and very sweet juicy flesh. The skin is particularly good for making preserves or as candied peel. The Navel oranges thrive in such subtropical climates as the Mediterranean, and grown extensively in Spain, Morocco, Turkey, South Africa, Australia, California, Florida, Uruguay, Brazil, and Argentina. It was certainly the Brazilian Navel orange called Bahia that was introduced to the US in 1870 to fill the need for a good early variety. Navels are seedless and propagate by cuttings and were imported by the USDA in Washington, who distributed them to growers in Florida and California, and thus acquiring the name of Washington Navel.

Available: June to October

Valencias – deliciously sweet and juicy, used for juicing as well as eating.

Valencia is the most important commercial variety in the world, living up to its nickname of the “King of Juice Oranges”. Valencia accounts for 50% of the total Florida fruit crop and the principal variety used for processing into juice. The Valencia originated in China and was taken to Europe by Portuguese or Spanish voyagers. The Valencia is perfect for the tropics, even though colour development may vary when the weather is hot. It has a thin and slightly pebbly rind. The flesh is bright orange and extremely juicy and nearly seedless. Valencia is a late orange, which has a smooth, thin skin, and contains few if any seeds, pale flesh, a sharp flavour, and is very juicy.

Available: November to February

Other smaller orange varieties grown in Australia – the hamlin, the parson brown, the pineapple and the salustiana.

Did you know?

Hamlin originated as a chance seedling in a grove near Glenwood, Florida, owned by A. G. Hamlin, and has become the most widely grown orange variety in Florida. Valencia has a green tinge on the skin which is actually nature’s own suncscreen! It protects the orange from the hot climate in Australia at that time of the year. Salustianas are a very rare, seedless, and juicy orange.

Ref: iinvista and PIRSA Horticulture.

Seasonality

Citrus growers are well placed throughout Australia to provide exceptional tasting citrus from winter through to summer.

The key orange varieties are navels and Valencias.

Navels are mainly grown in three southern growing regions – the Murray Valley, the Riverina of NSW and the Riverland of South Australia. Valencias are mainly grown in the Riverina.

Citrus production regions

Navel oranges Navels are the largest grown varieties in Australia and available during the winter from June – August. Sweet and juicy, they are rich in orange colour, seedless and easy to peel.

Valencias are one of the largest orange varieties grown in Australia and available from November to February – the summer months. Deliciously sweet and juicy, they are ideal for eating and juicing.