Citrus Fruits 101 – Beyond the Navel Orange

Ever wonder the difference between a navel orange and a mandarin? And what even is a tangelo?

Turns out, there are over 100 varieties of citrus fruits, and the ones you’re most familiar with barely scratch the surface. At ThirdLeaf NW alone, we rotate over a dozen varieties of citrus in your office fruit bins throughout the year.

Want to know more about the goodies hiding in your fruit bin and grocery store aisles? Read on to get some fast facts about our favorite citrus fruits!

Navel Oranges
Starting off with a familiar friend…

Flavor: Quintessential orange flavor, sweet yet tart, slightly acidic

Appearance: Bright orange skin with a “navel-like” feature on one end, orange flesh (3” – 4.5” dia.)
Season: Nov. to Jan.

Blood Oranges
A slightly smaller, slightly sweeter cousin of the Navel that’s also known as a raspberry orange.

Flavor: Sweet orange combined with raspberry-like notes, less tangy than Navels

Appearance: Bright orange skin, dark reddish pink flesh (2.5” dia.)
Season: Oct. to May

Cara Cara Oranges
A variety that first appeared as a natural mutation of a Navel is now its own beloved breed. Oh, and they’re seedless!

Flavor: Sweet orange with floral and berry flavor notes, less tart than Navels

Appearance: Deep orange skin, bright pink flesh (3” – 4” dia.)
Season: Dec. to April


NOTE: You’re probably familiar with mandarin oranges. Tangerines are a subset of mandarins, but not all mandarins are tangerines. Tangerines are characterized by a smaller size and sweeter flavor.


Stem & Leaf Satsuma Mandarins
Satsumas are a popular variety of tangerine.

Flavor: Sweetest tangerine variety, very little acidic flavor

Appearance: bright orange skin and flesh, dimpled/bumpy skin, deep green stem and leaf attached to fruit (1.5” – 2.5” dia.)
Season: Oct. to Dec.

Page Mandarins
A hybrid between a Minneola tangelo (see below) and the well-known Clementine mandarin. Pages are very fragrant and have no seeds!

Flavor: sweet, rich, and complex citrus flavor

Appearance: deep orange skin and flesh (2.5” – 3” dia.)
Season: Jan. to March

Minneola Tangelos
Tangelos are hybrids between tangerines and grapefruit. The Minneola variety is the most popular tangelo and nicknamed “The Honeybell” due to its shape.

Flavor: sweet-tart mix of sweet tangerine and tangy grapefruit, slightly flowery

Appearance: bright orange skin and flesh, bell-like shape with protrusion at stem (3” – 3.5” dia.)
Season: Jan. to April

Ruby Red Grapefruit
A slightly sweeter twist on the tart grapefruits you’ve probably tried before!

Flavor: classic sweet-tart grapefruit flavor, but sweeter than normal light pink grapefruits

Appearance: red-orange skin, vibrant red-pink flesh (4” – 6” dia.)
Season: Nov. to March

Rio Red Grapefruit
Rio Red is the remix of Ruby Red. In fact, Rio first appeared as a mutation on a Ruby tree.

Flavor: sweet-tart balance, but even sweeter than Ruby

Appearance: yellow-orange skin, deep red-pink flesh (deeper color than Ruby) (4” – 6” dia.)
Season: Oct. to June