Sunday, March 20, 2022

Florida Oranges taste test comparison - from the Florida Showcase of Citrus

Today we're going to do a giant Orange taste test! Theresa mentions that we rarely do healthy taste tests, and she's right. We've done a few different Apple taste tests, starting in 2018 with my brother and sister-in-law when we tasted 7 different apples, continuing in 2019 with my other brother and sister-in-law, and finally trying 11 different apples in 2021 when we visited Saunderskill Farms in New York

Just recently we visited the Showcase of Citrus in Clermont Florida, and we were lucky enough to have Uncle Don with us! We spent a fun afternoon walking through the orange groves and filling a 20 pound bag with as many different varieties of citrus as we could! In the end, we came home with 11 different varieties, though they're not all technically oranges; some are lemons and tangerines. Let's taste them and find out which is our favorite!

Ah, right. We need to wash these first. These came right off the trees and into our bag, so they're a little dusty. They haven't been cleaned for grocery store shelves, so it's up to us. 

Hard to believe that something that looks like this... 

... can turn into this with just a little bit of water and a scrub brush. This is a Temple Orange which has a few extra bumps and warts on it. 

Today we'll be trying 11 different items. 
1. Spring Navel
2. Red Navel
3. Yellow Navel
4. Tango
5. Honey Tangerine
6. Meyer Lemon
7. Honey Bell
8. Sugar Belle
9. Pineapple Orange
10. Temple
11. Valencia

I don't think I've ever seen so many different kinds of oranges before. 

It's certainly a pretty visual with all those different citrus halves. 

Let me tell you, the house was smelling so good. Fresh oranges and aroma of orange juices was filling the air. I cut 5 pieces out of each orange to let everyone taste each. 

Let's get started!

We're going to start with the Navel Oranges. Navel Oranges are considered "winter oranges" and Valencias are considered "summer oranges" based on when they're ready to harvest. I thought it was interesting to see the different colors of the Navel Oranges, especially that red one. It's almost as red as a grapefruit!

And where did the name Navel come from? Well, when you look at the end, it does kind of look like a bellybutton doesn't it? 

Spring Navel
Theresa - The skin is very soft. It's a mild orange flavor. 
Donald - It's so juicy!
Theresa - You can make some great orange juice out of that. 
Joe - The pith is very bitter. Make sure you avoid that. 
Theresa - That was yum!
Donald - It wasn't super sweet, but it was very good. 
Ian - It tasted like orange juice. 

Red Navel
Ian - Oh. No. 
Theresa - That tastes like a cross between a grapefruit and an orange. 
Donald and Theresa (almost in sync) - It's like 3/4 orange, and 1/4 grapefruit. 
Donald - It's a sweet grapefruit. 
Ian - I don't exactly like this one. 
Joe - It's less orange flavor. The skin on these is horrible. 

Yellow Navel
Ian - It looks like a lemon. I hope it doesn't taste like a lemon. 
Alli - It's so sweet!
Theresa - The texture is a little funny. 
Donald - Ooh, what part of the grove is this from? It tastes like that pasture area smelled. 
I think you got a bad piece. 
Joe - It's a light orange. 
Theresa - That one is pretty sweet. Almost like a very mild orange flavor, but a lot of sweet. Does that make sense? 
Donald - Yeah! Like you took an unripe orange and poured sugar on it. 
Joe - I like the Yellow Navel. 
Donald - The second piece was better. The first one, I had a Ratatouille moment. I bit into it and I was whooshed back to that cow pasture stinky part of the orange grove. 

Theresa - It's super orange colored. That's like a tangerine but a sour tangerine!
Ian - It tastes like a lemon!
Donald - Wow! It's so tart! I've never had one so tart. 
Theresa - It tastes like a tangerine. 
Joe - It's got a lot of flavor. I like it. 
Donald - I just can't believe how different they all taste. 

Honey Tangerine
Ian - Mmm. Sweet!
Theresa - Wow! That's a different flavor. I don't even know what it tastes like though. It's not so much a citrus flavor. 
Donald - It's like a mild melon. 
Theresa - Yeah! It's just, like different!
Joe - I like it! 
Donald - Hmm. That's probably my least favorite. It was just bland. The other ones just "took me somewhere", but not this one. It was just kind of there. 

Meyer Lemon
Ian - Uncle Don, you should like this one since you're a Myers. 
Donald - It has a great smell. 
Meyer lemons are a hybrid citrus fruit which are sweeter than normal lemons. 

I remember giving these to the kids when they were little. I think every parent does. 
Alli - Those are really good!
Ian - It's very not good. 
Joe - It's tart, but it's not pucker your face sour. 
Theresa - I wouldn't eat more than that little bit of it. 
Donald - That's probably why our lemonade was so good yesterday. It was made out of these. 
Alli - I like the Meyer lemons the best. 

Honey Bell
Ian - That's straight up sweet! I like it!
Donald - That's good!
Theresa - That's similar to the Honey Tangerine flavor. The Honey Bell is a little more tart. 
Joe - It's very juicy. 

Sugar Belle
Theresa - Do you just put "Sugar" or "Honey" in the name to tempt people to buy it? 
Ian - Nope! No! It tastes nothing like sugar. 
Joe - I'm not getting a super strong orange. 
Theresa - It doesn't taste like an orange even. It's still a sweet liquid. 
Alli - I would say it's really good. 

Pineapple Orange
Donald - I'm excited for this one. 
Joe - I love pineapples. 
Donald - I hope it doesn't let me down. 
Theresa - I feel like where you both are coming from, it's going to let you down. 
Donald - When I saw it, I said I was excited to try this orange. 
Theresa - Well the Sugar Belle didn't taste like sugar. The Honey Bell didn't taste like Honey. So I have a feeling this won't taste like pineapple, but we'll see. 
Alli - It's really good. 
Theresa - If you want pineapple orange, I'll just buy you a pineapple next time and you can take a bite of each. 
Joe - But if I could have it in the same orange, I'd be saving a step. 
Ian - Mmmm. It's so good. Definitely a level up from Honey Tangerine. 
Donald - It's very sweet. 
Joe - It doesn't taste like pineapple, but it's good. 

I thought it had a lot of pulp to it. 

The Temple, or Tangor, is a hybrid of the mandarin orange and the sweet orange. 
Theresa - This smelled so good at the grove. 
Donald - It has tropical flavor to it. I like it a lot. 
Theresa - It tastes almost like a Mango Orange. Temple has the most unique flavor. 

Theresa - That's a real tropical orange. It would go in with passion fruits and mangos. That's really good. 
Donald - And it was the bumpiest ugliest orange. But it tastes so good! That's one reason I like it too. 

Theresa - This one shouldn't be judged too harshly. It's probably not quite ripe. 
Alli - It's great!
Theresa - It's very juicy! Leaking down everywhere. 
Ian - It has a grapefruit flavor. 
Theresa - It's like an unripe standard orange. 
Donald - It tastes like orange juice to me. 

So after going through 11 different varieties of citrus, what are everyone's favorites? Who knew there were so many different subtleties in the flavors and textures of all the oranges? 
Theresa - None of them tasted the same. 
Donald - They were all good. 

This was a tough one. There's so many good orange flavors. 
Donald's favorite was the Temple Orange. Actually Theresa thought it was hers too, and I took a picture of her and Donald together. After a second round of tasting though, she changed her mind, which forced me to re-take this picture of Donald by himself. 

Alli's favorite is the Valencia Orange!

Ian really liked the Pineapple Orange. 

The Honey Tangerine was my favorite. After going back for a few more and comparing the Honey Bell and Honey Tangerine directly to each other, Theresa ended up choosing the Honey Tangerine as her favorite too. 

Donald - This may be the first taste test where I'm not overwhelmed. Because as much as I love cheeses or chips, by the time you get to the last one, you're like, sigh... I love Reese's cups, but... But this one I could eat all the extras. 

All of these were so juicy! 
Theresa - They're all good. We're just here chowing down. 
Donald - That's my favorite taste test. 
This was a great taste test to do! And I love that we picked them all ourselves!

1 comment:

  1. Nice opening photo of Don, Ian, Alli, & the displayed, cut oranges. That was a very healthy, refreshing taste test...all those different oranges with their subtle flavors and varying appearances. The Temple Orange sounds really first thought on the cut Red Navel Orange was its resemblance to grapefruit, too! Some of the comments were funny and/or interesting...Don: "...I was whooshed back to that cow pasture stinky part of the orange grove." :-) ...Ian: "Uncle Don, you should like this one since you're a Myers." :-) This was a great taste test with the entire family carefully-picking oranges directly from the trees...everyone got to enjoy the fruits of their labor! EOM