The thought of gulping down a big glass of freshly-squeezed orange juice makes me want to drop everything and go pick up some oranges, ASAP. Right when you close the clamp on the juicer, the citrus smell bursts through your kitchen. Oranges are great for other recipes aside from juice, from desserts to breakfast bars. Check out these tips for how to choose the right orange for the right recipe:


Blood oranges are rare beauties, getting their gorgeous color from anthocyanins, which are pigments commonly in many flowers and fruits, but not usually in citrus fruits. They have an orange exterior that’s often stained with blood-red flecks. Blood oranges are very sweet, so use them for juicing. Also, chop them and place them over salads to show off their color, and try using them for these Chocolate-Peanut Butter Vegan Cupcakes with Orange ‘Marmalade’ Frosting.


Mandarin oranges are good for eating out of hand. Cooking wise, they make for great sauces and garnishes to salads and desserts. Use them in this Raw Mandarin Carrot Cake with Lemon Cream and this Yogurt Mandarin Cake With Amaranth Crust.


Clementines are a seedless variety of mandarin oranges that were named in 1902. You may have purchased “Cuties,” which are a cross between a Clementine and a Murcott mandarin orange. Since these oranges are small and easy to peel, they are ideal for eating raw and throwing in your bag for a snack. Their tiny size makes them perfect for kids’ hands. Use them for these Pistachio, Pecan, and Goji Berry Bites


Navel oranges have a thick skin that is easy to peel, but their flesh is not as juicy as other oranges, so choose a different variety if making orange juice. They are ideal for eating out of hand. Try using the zest of a navel orange for these Orange Poppy Seed Muffins.


Tangerines have been cultivated for more than 3,000 years. These slightly soft oranges are smaller than most. They’re also less tart and more sweeter than other oranges. Like clementines, this variety is good for eating out of hand. Try their zest in these Orange Dreamsicle Cupcakes.

Honey Tangerines

Though you may not be familiar with the name, these are the most widely-grown variety of orange. Since they are very sweet, honey tangerines are not a good choice to use for vinaigrettes or acidic applications. Instead, they’re better for desserts or eating out of hand. Use them for these Orange-Tripe Chocolate Chocolate Chip Cookies.


Valencia oranges are great for juicing and are often referred to as “juice oranges.” They are not the best for eating out of hand, but feel free to juice away! Use their juice for this Curried Carrot Ginger and Orange Soup.

Lead image source: Can GMOs Save the Orange?