When Are Cara Cara Oranges in Season?
The old maxim, “It’s what’s on the inside that counts” can easily applied to the cara cara navel orange! On the From the outside, this citrus surprise looks much like any common navel, but when you open them up the difference is clear even before you taste it.
What is a Cara Cara Orange?
Cara cara oranges are a type of navel orange. They’re a cross between two navels and were first discovered in the mid-70s in Venezuela. Nowadays, you’re most likely to find a cara cara orange tree in California, where cara cara orange season reaches its peak between December and April.
Cara Cara Orange vs. Navel
Cara Caras have the same round shape and bright orange rind as traditional navels. What sets a cara cara navel apart, however, is what’s on the inside. The cara cara orange has a distinctive, pinkish-and-orange flesh. But it’s not just it’s beautiful color that makes the cara cara stand out — is has an amazing flavor, too! Compared to traditional navels, cara cara orange taste sweeter, are slightly tangy, and less acidic with red fruit undertones (e.g. cherry, cranberry or blackberry). And all navel oranges, they’re seedless, so they’re just as snackable as standard navels.
Cara Cara Orange vs. Blood Orange
The exterior skin of Cara Cara is a yellowish-orange hue, but upon opening the fruit you will notice the light pinkish-red flesh, which is similar to that of a grapefruit. The blood orange gets its name from it’s even darker flesh, which is deep maroon in color. Like the cara cara orange, blood oranges have a sweet citrusy aroma with red fruit undertones and are less acidic than the average navel.
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 Eat Cara Cara Oranges
Eat Cara Cara oranges just as you would other types of navel oranges! Peeling away the rind and eating them section by section, blending them into smoothies or a fresh-squeezed glass of juice, and making citrus curd are just a few of ways to use Cara Caras. They also make a beautiful addition to salads.