Introduced to Florida in 1835 and California in 1873, Navel oranges have always been well loved. Did you know all navels can be considered fruits from a nearly two hundred year old tree? The original tree was cultivated on the grounds of a monastery in Bahia, Brazil sometime between 1810 and 1820. Being considered seedless, navels can only be propagated from grafting cuttings of the trees. Other than their location and appearance, there are really no differences between Florida or California navels, but there are some who only prefer one variety over the other. Let’s take a look at what makes them such a unique variety.
Florida Navel Oranges
Florida, known as the Sunshine State, is the state that everyone associates with growing oranges. We are so proud of them, we even have oranges on our license plates. Here in Indian River County, we’re surrounded by citrus groves. When the orange blossoms are in bloom, the air smells heavenly. Weather conditions in Florida cause the navels to be sweeter and juicer. The peels are typically thinner and easier to remove which make them great for easy snacking and making fresh orange juice. When you peel a Florida navel, you get an instant aroma of that zesty sweet orange smell. The outside appearances with Florida Oranges are often misleading. Due to the occasional strong winds, the outside skin will sometimes have small superficial “scars” from the fruit brushing against the branches and leaves causing the fruit to look damaged. This does nothing to effect the taste or juice inside, they’re only small beauty marks making each orange unique. Along with the beauty marks, the Florida navel often has a green tinge to the peel. These are fully ripe and completely normal.
California grows and supplies most of our country with fresh fruits and vegatable, with oranges being one of their top crops. When driving through areas of farming, you can sometimes pick out the different crops being grown by their smell alone, with orange blossoms filling the air with sweetness. California’s climate is so different than Florida, which makes for different oranges. The peel is slightly thicker and harder to remove then the Florida variety. The outside looks exactly what you would imagine when thinking of an orange. Bright and vibrant orange, rounder and less scarred making California oranges perfect for gift baskets, photos, and displays. Growing at a higher altitudes with dryer heat and less humidity, California navels tend to be less juicy but still just as sweet.
Both Florida and California have long rich histories in growing navel oranges and both states grow delicious oranges. No matter which variety you prefer both taste sweet, are full of juice, and never fail to bring smiles to everyone’s faces. Tell us below which you prefer! Why do you prefer it over the other? We’d love to hear from you!