He has a knack for picking out perfectly ripe fruit, so there’s rarely a dry or sour orange on the plate, but at my parents’ house, oranges are only ever eaten raw.
But sweet, sometimes bitter, sometimes sour oranges can add so much to a cooked dish.
Like most citrus, you can use their zest and juice to flavor savory dishes and desserts. Unlike lime or lemon, oranges are sweet enough that you can include ample portions of the fruit itself, too.
At grocery stores in the United States, you’re most likely to find Cara Cara, Valencia, Navel and Blood Oranges (and Clementines and Tangerines, which are technically oranges, too). Each has its own character.
Navel and Valencia oranges are similarly sweet, though navels are slightly more bitter with thicker peels and are favored for eating, while Valencias are favored for juicing. Cara Cara oranges have a pretty pinkish hue and have a tiny bit of a berry flavor. Blood Oranges are less sweet and have a dramatic red hue, either throughout the whole fruit or streaking through it; sometimes the skin has blushes of red to indicate the interior. Clementines and tangerines are super sweet, a little floral with a loose peel that comes off as easily as the inner segments do — ideal for handheld snacking.
Check out my colleague Becky Krystal’s guide for getting the most out of whatever orange you pick here.
In savory dishes oranges can balance bitter, salty and strong flavors. In sweet dishes, they add a slight tartness and wonderful fragrance to cakes, cookies and more. Below, you’ll find some of our favorite ways to eat oranges. You’ll find even more to suit your tastes through our Recipe Finder.
Roasted Orange Slices. Sending citrus fruit to the oven can bring out caramelized notes and intense layers of sweetness than eating them raw. It also turns their peels into a chewy treat. Try them simply roasted as a snack or accompaniment to a charcuterie board, turn the oven all the way down to make Chocolate-Dipped Orange Crisps, or just save the peels for Candied Orange Peels.
Blood Orange and Bourbon Boulevardier. Fresh-squeezed orange juice is a treat on its own, but you can make it a more dramatic affair by using ruby blood orange juice and combining it with bourbon, sweet vermouth and Campari.