What Kinds Of Oranges Are Best For Juicing?

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kinds of oranges

We’ve all had our share of antioxidant-rich orange juice from a carton, but nothing beats the flavor explosion of fresh-squeezed orange juice. When it comes to juicing, not all oranges are created equal. Some, like the elusive bergamot orange, are too bitter for juicing, and the sweetness and flavor factors vary among species. It can be hard to choose, so we’ve gathered our top juicing varieties below and rated them according to juicing quality to help you decide which orange to plunge into your juicer.

A Word About Limonin

All oranges and other citrus fruit produce the chemical compound limonin, a true health powerhouse. Limonin is a phytonutrient with cancer cell growth-inhibiting properties, and it’s been shown to fight fungal, bacterial, and viral infection. But there’s a catch: it’s very bitter, and it could ruin your juice. Fortunately, there’s a way around this. Limonin is produced from LARL, a flavorless substance trapped in the fruit’s cells. Once the fruit cells are broken from the juicing process, limonin begins to form. This means that if your oranges are high in LARL, the longer the juice sits around, the more bitter it will be. But studies have also shown that LARL content lessens the longer the orange stays on the tree, so orange varieties picked late in the season won’t create bitter juice. To avoid the bitterness completely, it’s best to consume your OJ immediately after juicing.

Our Ratings

We’ve chosen five categories to rate the orange varieties below: sweetness, bitterness, flavor, juice content, and affordability. The higher the score, the more favorable the juice. For instance, a sweetness or bitterness score of 5 doesn’t mean it’s high in sweetness and bitterness. It means the sweetness and bitterness factors are the most well-balanced and palatable.

The Best Juicing Oranges:

7. Navel

Navel oranges are the world’s most popular orange variety. They’re easy to peel, readily accessible, and perfect for eating. But Navel oranges are picked an average of two months after they peak in LARL content, which can spell bitterness if you try to make a juice batch to store in the fridge. Navel orange juice is best if you drink it immediately.

  • Sweetness: 4
  • Bitterness: 2
  • Flavor: 3
  • Juice Content: 5
  • Affordability: 5
  • Score: 3.8
    navel

    Image credit: stux. Pixabay

6. Clementine

These smaller varieties of Mandarin oranges are great for snacking, but they also make a pleasant juice with a slightly different flavor profile. Due to their size, however, you’ll have to juice a fair number of them to get any amount worth storing in the fridge.

  • Sweetness: 4
  • Bitterness: 3
  • Flavor: 4
  • Juice Content: 3
  • Affordability: 5
  • Score: 3.8
    clementine

    Image credit: Il-Luminatore, Pixabay

5. Blood Orange

These beautiful oranges have a secret. Cut them open and you’ll find striking, ruby-red flesh inside. Not only do they make unique-looking juice, they also pack a flavor punch you won’t get from other orange varieties. The downside is that they’re typically more expensive, too.

  • Sweetness: 4
  • Bitterness: 4
  • Flavor: 5
  • Juice Content: 4
  • Affordability: 3
  • Score: 4
    blood orange

    Image credit: Rainer Rillke, Flickr

4. Satsuma

This Japanese variety is notably easy to peel, sweet, and seedless, and has a light, refreshing flavor. They’re great for juicing, but since they’re on the smaller side (bigger than a clementine but smaller than a tangelo), you’ll need to pay more to get a decent juice batch. They also tend to be more expensive.

  • Sweetness: 4
  • Bitterness: 4
  • Flavor: 4
  • Juice Content: 4
  • Affordability: 4
  • Score: 4
    satsuma

    Image credit: Allen Timothy Chang, Wikimedia

3. Tangelo

The juicy and delicious tangelo is marked by its prominent navel and deep orange color. While tangelos are more tart than other oranges, they’re also far juicier and sweeter, making them a top contender among juicing oranges.

  • Sweetness: 5
  • Bitterness: 3
  • Flavor: 4
  • Juice Content: 4
  • Affordability: 5
  • Score: 4.2
tangelo

Image credit: stevepb, Pixabay

2. Tangerine

Tangerines are an orange variety with a shorter season. They boast a robust flavor and low bitterness, and make a great option for juicing. They’re only readily available from late fall to early spring, but it’s well worth the wait for the high-quality juice they produce.

  • Sweetness: 5
  • Bitterness: 4
  • Flavor: 4
  • Juice Content: 4
  • Affordability: 5
  • Score: 4.4
tangerine

Image credit: stevepb, Pixabay

1. Valencia

These are the most popular juicing oranges. Valencia oranges spend several months longer on the tree than Navel oranges, leaving them low in LARL. This means you get a juice with great flavor, and you can store it in the fridge without worrying about bitterness. Their popularity means you’ll easily find them stacked on supermarket shelves.

  • Sweetness: 4
  • Bitterness: 5
  • Flavor: 4
  • Juice Content: 5
  • Affordability: 5
  • Score: 4.6
valencia

Image credit: U.S. Department of Agriculture, Flickr

Conclusion

Now that you’ve read about the seven best juicing oranges, you’re ready to start juicing. If you’re feeling adventurous, try blending two or more varieties together, as well. For instance, mixing tangelos and blood oranges can give you a tart flavor blast, and a combination of Valencia and clementine varieties will add flavor and balance to your juice. Just remember, you can make great juice with any orange, but you may need to be selective about the variety if you plan on storing your finished product.

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