As a person who has followed a plant-based diet for many years, the thought crossed my mind that I could easily make my own organic orange juice. After all, there’s nothing to it, right? You just put the fruit in the juicer, and voila, you’ve got a glass full of sunshine. In an attempt to prove myself right, I did some research and learned a lot about the dos and don’ts of juicing oranges.
So, what are the best oranges for juicing? Hands down, Valencia oranges are best. Limonin, the compound in citrus fruits that sours when exposed to air, is contained in the seeds of the orange, making it sweeter. In navel oranges, it’s in the flesh which is exposed to air after being peeled.
How to juice oranges is easy peasy when you have a bunch of Valencias on hand. Making homemade juice, however, goes further than the actual process. There are a lot of considerations to make including uses for Valencia oranges juice and juicing oranges with peel. It took me some time to find these things out so I could pass on the knowledge to you.
What Are Valencia Oranges Used for?
To better understand why Valencia oranges are the best juicing oranges, it’s important to know something about their background. Although the citrus fruit from China and named after Valencia, Spain has been around for centuries, it didn’t revolutionize American agriculture until the 1920s despite being planted in South California five decades earlier.
Today’s oranges for juicing have to do with where the substance, limonin, is contained. For navel oranges, it’s in the flesh which sours rapidly after being exposed to air. In Valencias, it’s in the seeds which are protected by the flesh and therefore, sweeter.
There are many health benefits attributed to limonin. According to the USDA , it fights skin, mouth, stomach, colon, lung, and breast cancers. It’s also said to help with high blood cholesterol, which leads to a myriad of diseases, including heart disease.
Limonin is a form of limonoid found in citrus fruits. It’s bitter, crystal-like, and white. The health benefits of the substance depend largely on the type of orange being juiced. For example, naval orange juice isn’t as sweet as many people like it to be, making it a poor choice for juicing.
Although considered one of the best oranges for making juice, Valencia oranges have their downsides. For example, anyone with a peptic ulcer may find it painful to drink something so acidic. People with diabetes, too, must proceed with extreme caution when juicing the oranges because the drink itself could cause their blood sugar levels to skyrocket.
Knowing how long does orange juice last can also be a deal-breaker for many people. Fresh Valencia juice should be consumed as quickly as possible or frozen to be enjoyed later. When refrigerated, it can last from four to seven days without incident but may taste less sweet depending on how long it has been exposed to air.
What’s the Difference Between Naval and Valencia Oranges?
Juice oranges aren’t created equal. That’s why it’s important to know the difference between naval and Valencia oranges. If the number one choice isn’t available, you’ll want to know how to make do with the next best choice.
Are navel oranges good for juicing? Ordinarily, not. They aren’t as sweet as Valencias, which is why some people stay away from them.
I’ve found that they are still very valuable because of their high Vitamin C content. The juice that is made from navels isn’t as sweet as a Valencia orange. A runner-up in juice oranges, you could choose to sweeten navel orange juice in a number of ways.
Here’s how the two oranges differ. First, it’s about where the limonoid is located in each. Since the idea of juicing fruit is to create a healthy, delicious beverage to drink, you’ll want it to taste as good as possible.
Limonoid contributes to the level of bitterness in oranges. Valencia produces the sweetest end product because its seeds are surrounded by the fat, juicy flesh of the citrus fruit. Navel oranges, however, have all of their limonoid inside the flesh which sours over time because it has been exposed to air.
Putting the best oranges for juicing side-by-side and doing a taste test helps you know the level of bitterness or sweetness each contains. Commercial oranges juices have a lot of added sugar and preservatives in them. The fresh juice you make at home seldom tastes comparable to the jug or carton you bought at the supermarket. You’ll also notice a difference in how sweet the juice is depending on the pulp content.
Tips for Peeling an Orange
There is a lot of debate that comes with peeling an orange before juicing it. Should you or shouldn’t you? Isn’t there a lot of nutritional value in the white part of the skin?
Although the best way to juice an orange is merely subjective, there are easier ways to peel it if you choose to do so before putting it in the juicer. I highly consider the following hacks very interesting and useful when it comes to saving time and preventing frustration, especially when peeling multiple oranges or ones with tough skins.
There are many ways to peel an orange with some techniques being more efficient than others. For example, cutting the fruit into halves and then quadrants makes it so you can separate the flesh from the skin in seconds. You can also use a metal spoon and ease it into the skin to give you a starting point to manually peel it.
The best oranges for orange juice aren’t going to peel themselves. Why not try rolling the oranges out into strips. As Lifehacker explains, you make a cut on the top and the bottom of the orange. You then create a vertical slit on one side before rolling the segments of citrus fruit out.
Buzzfeed recommends taking a knife and cutting a groove in the top of the skin of the fruit. By putting your thumb into the area and gently pushing, entire pieces of the peel come off at once. You don’t need anything more than a slight thrust of the finger to free the fruit and prepare to make your own organic orange juice.
Tips for Juicing Oranges
Some tricks of the trade help make juicing citrus easier. If you want to be a pro quickly, you might want to give a few of my discovered tips a try. ‘Hacking’ any process makes it simpler and less time-consuming.
Does rolling an orange make it juicier? According to some people’s claims, it does! Rolling it on a counter for 10 to 15 seconds at a time also helps loosen the peel making it easier to juice.
Other people swear by the microwave. Twenty to thirty seconds on high can make it easier to juice citrus fruit, especially oranges. Be mindful, however, that longer amounts of time in the microwave can destroy vital vitamins in the fruit.
If you plan on making juice for several people, you’re not going to get away with making a single cup. You’ll need to know how many Valencia oranges or navel oranges to buy to make a gallon for your family or friends to enjoy. Being short a few oranges can make the standard eight-ounce serving size less for each person.
How much juice is in one orange? The best oranges for juice produce two ounces of liquid per medium piece of citrus fruit. To make an eight-ounce cup of juice, three to four medium oranges are needed.
What about a gallon of freshly squeezed orange juice? It would take approximately 64 medium oranges to produce 128 fluid ounces of beverage. That’s where knowing how to peel and juice the fruit quickly comes in.
Juicing a large number of oranges quickly takes skill because of the sheer volume of fruit you’ll be dealing with to make a gallon of fresh juice. Perhaps rolling each one on the counter before microwaving it or juicing oranges with peel will make the process easier. If anything, it will give you a good workout!
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)
Do oranges get sweeter over time?
If they’re left on the tree long enough, they will. The acidity in the fruit reduces with time. If picked prematurely, the orange may never taste sweet even if you wait to juice it for days.
How do oranges get their color?
Many oranges never turn orange on their own. Instead, they are exposed to a type of gas called ethylene that breaks down chlorophyll. Others are shocked with cold, dipped in wax, detergent-scrubbed or dyed.
Can you freeze orange juice?
Yes, you absolutely can freeze it! Some cartons are made for that purpose. They’re freezable and expandable, so they preserve the freshness of the juice well. Juice can also be poured into ice cube trays and froze that way.