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Texas Navel Oranges

The navel orange is a seedless orange variety that has a “navel” at the top of the fruit caused by a secondary fruit within the skin. Since this is a seedless mutation, it is assumed that all navel orange trees are clones from one single parent tree. With them being clones, it is safe to say that all navel oranges are basically the same. The thing that separates Texas Navel Oranges from all of the other navel oranges is the environment in which they were grown in. Texas Navel Oranges, are grown in Texas, more specifically the Rio Grande Valley Region. This region has the subtropical climate needed for growing oranges, plus the soil is super fertile giving the Texas Navel Orange a distinct size differentiating it from other navel oranges.

  • Kingdom: Plantae
  • Order: Sapindales
  • Family: Rutaceae
  • Genus: Citrus
  • Species: C. x sinensis
  • Binomial name: Citrus x sinensis

Texas Navel Orange Trivia

  • The “navel” in navel oranges is a second undeveloped orange.
  • The essence from orange blossoms is an important ingredient in making perfumes
  • All of the navel orange trees in the world are clones of a single tree from Brazil
  • Since they are all grafted, there are no “wild” navel oranges.

Texas Navel Orange Buying Guide

If you’re buying Texas Navel Oranges, look for ones that are firm and thin-skinned. The color should be a solid orange without any coloration of green shades. The fruit should be firm and should have no soft spots or signs of mold.

Don’t worry about small scratches or scrapes, these are called “wind scarring” which occurs when the fruits brush up against the branches because of the wind.

Texas Navel Orange Production & Farming in Texas

Most of the Texas Navel Oranges are grown in the Rio Grande Valley, which is at the southernmost tip of Texas. Since Navel Oranges require lots of sun and high heat to develop sweeter flesh and high levels of sugar, the Rio Grande Valley region is the perfect place to grow it. Couple that with the rich soil in the region, Texas Navel Oranges has become a local favorite and most of the production in the State stays in the State.

Pesticides:

The USDA Pesticide Data Program has found different pesticide residues on oranges. Three are known or probably carcinogens, four are suspected hormone disruptors, five are neurotoxins, three are developmental or reproductive toxins and four have been found to kill honeybees. With all of these toxins found on oranges, it’s best to avoid them to be safe. What’s the use of consuming fruit that’s high in vitamin C if it’s also loaded with toxins?

These toxins are more than enough reasons to support local organic farmers.

Geography:

Texas Navel Oranges are extremely sensitive to freezing and cold weather. This is one of the reasons why the production of the Texas navel orange has been limited to the Rio Grande Valley region. But for home growers with a lot of time on their hands and want to grow Texas Navel Oranges, visit your local nursery to get a grafted plant to get started.

The Texas Navel Orange requires full sun and it should be planted on the south side to protect it from cold. It needs well-drained soil and it should be planted away from grass and other plants. They require a soil pH level of 2.9 to 4.0 to grow properly. For younger plants, adequate cold protection must be observed.

Packaging:

Texas Navel Oranges are usually packed in net bags depending on the specification of the retailer. For bigger retailers and farmers’ markets, they are usually packed in bulk boxes and stacked for display in stalls. Navel oranges are pretty hardy fruits and require very little or no protective packaging.

Eating Texas Navel Oranges

Texas navel oranges are best eaten fresh and raw. It does not lend well to being juiced because of the Limonin content of the fruit which turns the juice bitter after 30 minutes.

Storage:

For fully ripe Texas Navel Oranges, you can store them on the countertop for up to three or four days before they start to lose moisture. For unripe oranges, you can store them on the countertop until they ripen, then up to three or four days more. Do not store unripe Texas Navel Oranges in the Fridge as this may cause them to not ripen properly. Texas navel oranges can also be stored in the fridge for up to two weeks.

Unlike Valencia oranges, which you can juice and freeze for longer storage, it is not advisable to juice Texas Navel Oranges as they would just turn bitter due to the Limonin. They can be frozen whole for up to a month, but this can affect the flavor and texture of the fruit.

Cooking:

Since Texas Navel Oranges are some of the sweetest and plumpest oranges around, they work exceptionally well as topping for fresh and fruit salads. The zest of the Texas Navel Orange also can be made into marmalade, just be careful not to scrape too deep so that you won’t get any of the bitter pith. As they are basically oranges, Texas Navel Oranges can be used in any recipe that calls for oranges except for juice applications. They can be used to create sauces, added to bread, and cakes.

Hint: Nothing is stopping you from making juice from Texas Navel Oranges, just make sure to consume it immediately before it turns bitter.

Nutrition:

  • Carbs
    • The dominant form of carbs in oranges are simple sugars like sucrose, glucose, and fructose. Even though a 100g serving contains 8g of sugars, the fruit still has a low glycemic index of 31-51.
      • This low glycemic index is explained by the fiber content and high levels of polyphenols which moderates the rise in blood sugar levels.
    • Fiber
      • Texas navel oranges are a good source of dietary fiber. One serving (approximately half an orange) contains about 10% of the dietary fiber requirement.
        • Dietary fiber supports digestive health and ensures that good intestinal balance is maintained.
      • Vitamins and minerals:
        • Texas navel oranges, or any orange for that matter, are known for their extremely high levels of Vitamin C. One whole orange can provide over 100% of the RDI for vitamin C.
        • The fruit also contains moderate amounts of folate, which is a vitamin that is required by pregnant women for their babies to develop properly.
        • Texas navel oranges are also a good source of potassium which can lower blood pressure and reduces the risk of heart disease.
        • They are also moderately high in Citric Acid which may help flush out and prevent kidney stones.

When Are Texas Navel Oranges in Season in Texas?

One of the most salient benefits to eating seasonally is that you are effectively reducing your carbon footprint and supporting a more geographically sustainable food economy. We are rarely encouraged to think about the physical lengths our food travels before arriving on the market shelves. And all of this travel comes with a hefty environmental cost that is concealed from the consumer’s eye. Check other fruit and veg that’s in season in Texas.

Nutrition

DV%

  • Serving Size: 100g
  • Calories: 49 0
  • Carbs: 12g 0
  • Sugar: 8g 0
  • Fiber: 2g 0
  • Protein: 0g 0
  • Fat: 0g 0
  • Saturated Fat: 0g 0

Seasonality

When are apples in season in Texas?

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