Are Cara Cara Oranges Sweet?
Cara cara orange season is here at last! Just what is a cara cara orange, you ask? Only one of the sweetest navel oranges you’ll ever taste – and one that hides a surprise inside, too!
The Difference Between a Cara Cara Navel & a Classic Navel Orange
First discovered at Hacienda Cara Cara (hence the name) in Venezuela during the 1970s, a cara cara has the same round shape and bright orange peel as traditional navels, and like all navel oranges, they’re seedless. But two things set a cara car navel apart from a classic navel: its taste and the color of its flesh.
Unlike classic navel oranges, cara cara oranges are pink on the inside, much like a pink grapefruit. See the color, one could almost say cara cara orange taste like berry-flavored oranges! Sweeter and less acidic than their cousins, the taste of a cara cara navel calls to mind red fruits like blackberries and cherries.
Cara Cara Orange Nutrition
Cara cara oranges aren’t just a tasty snack…they’re a healthy one, too! If you’re craving something sweet, cara cara orange calories routinely top out at 80 (cara caras2 have a generally medium size, unlike other citrus fruits).
One medium cara cara orange also has 19 grams of carbs and 3 grams of fiber. Like most oranges, cara caras are an excellent source of the antioxidants vitamin A and C and a good source of folate. Cara cara oranges also contain a powerful antioxidant known as lycopene, which helps give them their gorgeous hue. Regular consumption of lycopene has been linked to a lower risk of heart disease, prostate cancer and macular degeneration (a disease that causes vision loss as you age).
How to Grow a Cara Cara Orange Tree
Like many citrus trees, cara cara orange trees require prolonged periods of warmer temperatures to produce a full crop. This means they’re hardy only in U.S. Department of Agriculture plant hardiness zones 9 through 10.
- Pick the right site. To be productive, cara cara trees need full sun, but they will grow in partial shade. They’re not picky about the type of soil you plant them in, but they do need a well-draining location. Cara cara orange trees are fast growing, and can grow to be 20 feet tall and 12 feet wide. Choose a spot where the tree will have enough room to grow to its full size without overshadowing your lawn or garden too much.
- Get Planting.
- Dig a hole the same width as the root ball and slightly less deep (the roots of your citrus tree will need to sit at least 1 inch higher than the native soil around it). Do not add nitrogen to the soil before you plant – nitrogen is important to the growth of established trees, but can cause the roots of young citrus trees to burn. Once the hole is dug, place the cara cara tree in the hole and fill the spaces around the root ball with native soil. Mulch around the tree after you give it a deep watering.
- Planting a Cara Cara in a Container. If your native soil has poor drainage, or if you don’t have room on your property for a full-grown cara cara, you may consider growing your tree in a container. For good growth, the container should be at least a 20-gallon size.
- Cultivate! In the beginning, you should water your cara cara orange tree twice per week until itbecomes established (this will take about 30-60 days). Once your tree is established, you can cut back its watering schedule to 1 inch of water per week (more in periods of high heat). To help your tree thrive, lightly apply a citrus formulated fertilizer once a month during spring and summer.
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