The navel orange is a delicious citrus fruit that probably originated in China sometime during the 17th century and is now grown in Arizona, California, Florida, Texas, Spain and Australia. Navel oranges draw their name, fittingly enough, from the fact that the blossom end of the fruit resembles a navel. In fact, the navel itself is actually a separate fruit attached to the main orange, which you can readily see if you slice one open. Navel oranges are the most popular eating orange in the world, most likely because they're sweet, juicy, seedless and easy to peel, which makes them absolutely perfect for lazy folk like me.

In selecting a navel orange, you'll want to choose one that's firm and has a bit of weight to it. Brown spots on the skin are normal and don't have any effect on the flavor. The skin should be thin, smooth and brightly colored. Avoid oranges with soft spots, faded coloring or rough, wrinkly skin.

Navel oranges from the US are available from November to May, while Australian navels are available from June to August.

Na"vel or"ange.

A type of orange in which the fruit incloses a small secondary fruit, the rind showing on the exterior a navel-like pit or depression at the apex. There are several varieties; they are usually seedless, or nearly so, and are much grown in California.


© Webster 1913

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