Though citrus is often thought to be a summer fruit, the truth is that many types of citrus from grapefruit to oranges are available nearly year round. The different types of oranges are available in different seasons. Some of these, like blood oranges, are a very short season. If you blink, you just might miss it. But others like navel oranges are available half the year, and possibly even more as science and climate combine to make the growing season a wee bit longer.
The season for navel oranges begins in November. Depending on how much rain there was through the growing season, this could be earlier or later. Lots of rain makes the crops grow a little faster, so you may occasionally see navel oranges at your grocer or farmers market even sooner than November. If you have had a wet fall, you may see them before Halloween. But more often than not, the first navel oranges will not hit the stands until November.
There will likely be other oranges that you can get before then, or maybe even at the same time. Some people have a hard time telling the difference between navel oranges and other types of oranges. The biggest difference is that navel oranges have a thicker skin than most others like Valencia oranges. They also have a button like fixture at the top where they were cut from the stem. This vaguely resembles a human belly button or navel, hence the name navel oranges. At their peak, navel oranges are some of the sweetest oranges you will ever try, so getting them in season is always best.
The navel oranges season extends past the new year and well into the rest of the year. This is considered by many to be the peak time to get navel oranges. From January until April is the time many are really savoring the sweet and juicy flavor of navel oranges. Whether it be by juicing them, eating them whole or making desserts, fruit salads or dressings, navel oranges are in full flavor around this time.
May is generally the end of the navel oranges season. Again, depending on the rain amounts, the season may end a little later or sooner. Also, technology and differing weather patterns have made it so that there may be one extra crop each season, thereby extending the navel oranges season just a little more, sometimes into late May or early June. These navel oranges are no different than the kind that you would find in December or May, or any month between. They are sweet, juicy and have a thick skin. They also have the same amount of vitamins and minerals, so enjoy these navel oranges just as much as you would any others.