Navel vs Valencia oranges: which variety is the one for you?

Two oranges that between them have all of your fresh, juicy and sweet needs covered

Navel oranges

An unfussy fruit: there for your easy enjoyment, nothing more, nothing less

Where were you born?

We’re tempted to say China, but it was more than a million years ago, so it’s hard to give too sure of an answer.

And what do scientists reckon?

They’re nonplussed, too, though some think ponkan, known as the Chinese honey orange, is our father.

Okay, how about your name – why Navel?

You tell us. Apparently it’s because we’re the same shape as your belly button, but we’ll have to take your word on that one.

(Looks down.) Oh yeah! That’s right. Why are you that shape?

It’s because we’re two oranges in one. The blossom end of our fruit develops a small secondary group of segments.

Two oranges in one? That must mean you’re super-juicy.

Honestly, juicing isn’t our strongest suit. But thanks to our seedless flesh and easy-to-peel skin, we’re as good as any other orange for eating fresh.

You aren’t juicy?

We are, but the juicing process activates limonin, a compound that in half an hour discolours juice and turns it bitter.

Got it. Any mottos you live by?

The future’s bright, the future’s orange.

Valencia oranges

This variety comes straight from Spain and into your kitchen with a zest to impress

Hello. Please say that you’re good for juicing?

We’re the best! Thin-skinned, with beautiful sweetness and next to no seeds.

Phew. And what can you reveal about your origins? Anything.

We found our way over to the United States in the 1870s, and from there grew into what we are today.

And what’s that?

The world’s most widely cultivated sweet orange variety.

Describe Valencia.

It’s like a shrine to oranges, and the locals cherish us: the city streets are lined with orange trees (though just for show) and even the main train station, Estació del Nord, is adorned with art deco paintings of oranges.

Nice. Now that you’re here, tell us some ways we can grow to love you.

As a juice, naturally, but in recipes too. We’ve noticed it’s very warm here in the UAE, so light, fresh salads (heya fennel and co.) would be great. Though having said that, we’re pretty versatile: try us with deep, meaty flavours (bonjour, duck) and dipped into melted chocolate (dark works best to balance out our sweetness).

And what’s your motto?

When life gives you Valencias, make juice.

And the winner is...

The sweetest Both

Best fresh Navel

Best juiced Valencia

For kids Navel

For cooking Valencia

Our favourite We can’t decide!