What’s the difference between Honeybell Oranges and Navel Oranges?

By: Pittman & Davis | On: | Category: Uncategorized

Not all oranges are created equal. Some are sweeter than the others, some are bigger, some more tart than sweet, some juicier, some are seedless and some more appetizing than other varieties. This is true when comparing the two most popular winter citrus oranges – the premium Honeybell orange and the sweet Navel orange – both are outstanding but each has its own charm.

So what really sets apart one from the other?


  • Honeybell fruit is not really an orange although a lot of people mistake it for one. Honeybells are tangelos or a citrus fruit hybrid of tangerine and grapefruit: Dancy tangerine and Duncan grapefruit to be exact.
  • The orange navel is a spontaneous mutation on that grew on a Laranja Selecta orange tree found in Brazil in 1800s. The navel orange is seedless and can only be propagated thru grafting and cutting.


  • Honeybell tangelos are bell-shaped fruits with bright red-orange peel when mature. The skin is thin and fairly loose making them easy to peel, thus a great snack. They usually come in large sizes compared to their tangerine parent, generally between 3 and 3 ½ inches in diameter.
  • You may mistake other oranges but navels are the varieties you will certainly never get wrong because of the iconic human navel-like formation found at the apex of the fruits. Navels are seedless citrus fruits with vibrant orange fragrant skin that is easy to peel making it a favorite among kids. Navel orange size differs in that it ranges from medium to large navel orange. You may also find red navels like the Cara Cara red navel orange that looks the same on the outside as other Navel orange but has distinguishable red flesh.


  • The Honeybell got its name from its bell-shaped appearance and sweet like honey taste with a tinged with tart flavor. Honeybells are more juice than flesh and is wonderful to munch on or add as an ingredient to salad, cake and other meat recipes.
  • Navel oranges are sweet, low in acidity, refreshing and burst with citrus flavor making it a favorite among kids and adults alike.

Orange Season

  • Honeybell orange season is short and this mouth-watering fruit is only available in January but sometimes the season extends to up to the second week of February. They are often hard to find and are mostly mail ordered in advanced by citrus lovers.
  • You can enjoy fresh navel oranges from January until April. You can get them from local grocers but you can also order them online and fresh batches will be delivered right to your doorstep.
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