Citrus in the Winter – Navel Oranges
The bright taste of citrus fruits gives people the impression of spring and summer. Think of a tall glass of tea or water and you see slices of lemons, limes, and even oranges as a part of the drink. Though spring and summer are great seasons for citrus, arguably the best season is during winter, because that is when navel oranges are available.
navel oranges get their name from the funny looking bump on the top of the orange. That is where it is cut from the stem on which it grew. Since it slightly resembles a navel, that is how navel oranges got their name. They are a seedless variety of oranges that when peeled seem to have a second orange growing in them.
In fact, that small section of little segments at the top of navel oranges is actually a second orange that never finished growing. Even if left on the stem to grow further, the small orange would never get any bigger. This is because navel oranges are the result of a hybrid where a second orange will begin to but never quite finish growing.
Some fans of citrus would argue that navel oranges are the sweetest of all the brands of oranges. Though this is obviously subjective and depends on individual taste, there is no denying that navel oranges are juicy and sweet and great for any recipe where citrus is called for. Even if lemon or lime or grapefruit are in the recipe, substituting navel oranges can give it a new kick and still fulfill the acid requirement.
The season for navel oranges begins in November and generally runs through to May. This means that even in the dead of winter, the bright taste of acidic citrus is available, and not just in juice form in the dairy. In fact, many people eat and drink the juice of navel oranges during the winter because it helps them get through the bone chilling (depending on where you live, of course) winters that are a part of many areas of the country.
If we are lucky, the weather and amounts of rain may make for a longer growing season for navel oranges. Occasionally, you can find navel oranges in stores earlier than usual. Also on occasion, there may be an extra crop at the end of the growing season, extending navel oranges availability into the summer instead of being cut off in May. Though by this time other varieties of oranges may be available as a substitute, many people prize navel oranges for their sweetness and would prefer an extra crop of these over the first crop of another variety.