How to Pick Oranges at the Grocery Store

Oranges are a healthy fruit packed with vitamin C that everyone should keep on hand for a delicious and healthy snack.  But if you’re buying them frequently, how do you know what a good orange is versus a bad orange?

How do you pick oranges at the grocery store?

Fresh oranges will be heavy with skin that is firm and lightly textured.

Oranges are a delicious fruit, but they can be expensive. We don’t know about you, but if we spend our hard-earned money, we want to be getting the best! This fact is why it’s so important to understand how to pick the best oranges.

In this article, we will give you some tests to pick out the perfect orange and tips on how to store them to keep them fresh.

Alright, let’s get to it!

What are Oranges?

Before shopping, we need to know the oranges a little better to know what we’re looking for.

Oranges are citrus fruit from the orange tree. 

Orange trees will bloom with stunning, fragrant blossoms before forming their juicy fruit. If you have an orange blossom area near you, we urge you to visit them in the season because they’re genuinely so beautiful.

A fact that people often don’t know is that oranges are actually a hybrid fruit.

Yes, oranges are a hybrid between a pomelo and a mandarin created hundreds of years ago. Since their creation, they have become the world’s most cultivated tree.

There are many different kinds of oranges; some varieties include: 

  • Seville 
  • Naval
  • Valencia
  • Blood orange
  • Jaffa

Fun Fact:

There are 79 million oranges produced every year, with the highest producer being Brazil, followed by China and India. That’s a lot of oranges!

Now that we and oranges are more closely acquainted let’s learn the best way to pick them up at the grocery store.

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How to Pick Oranges at the Grocery Store 

The perfect orange will be heavy, firm, and have fine-textured skin.

When picking oranges, you are choosing the freshest one and the orange that has not been damaged during handling. 

You will not have to worry about seasons because certain types of oranges have different seasons, so they stay stocked all year round. How convenient is that?

Here are a few ways to tell if an orange is worth buying [*]:

No Mold Present

Mold is the most obvious sign of a bad orange and is the first thing you should look for.

The oranges will be soft, with green, blue, and white mold growing in patches across the skin’s surface.

If one orange is moldy in the bag, it probably affects the oranges around it, so you should avoid that situation altogether.

Inspect the Skin

Hold the orange in your hand and inspect it from all angles.

The skin should be blemish-free with a very slightly dimpled texture. There should be no dents, soft spots, or holes.

Now, I don’t want you to confuse a natural feature of an orange with a hole or other damage, so I need to explain about Naval oranges.

Naval oranges are very commonly found in the grocery store. They can be identified by the slight indentation at the bottom of the orange that resembles a belly button or naval. As long as you can’t see through to the orange flesh, your orange is just fine.

Feel for Firmness

Give the orange a gentle squeeze, but not too hard!

It should feel pretty firm with a bit of give. We find that Valencia oranges will be a little less firm because their skin is slightly thinner.

Tip for checking juiciness:

Gently roll the orange on a flat surface before purchasing to assess its juiciness. Rolling helps to break down the cell walls inside the orange, making it easier to extract juice.

If the orange feels firm and rolls smoothly, it indicates a good level of juiciness, ensuring a flavorful experience when you later enjoy the fruit or use it for juicing.

Feel the Weight

Weigh the orange in your hand. It should feel heavy for its size because it is packed with juice.

Light oranges will be dry and lacking juice. This could be because they are low quality or because the orange is old and dried out. 

Faint Sweet Scent

Take a sniff of the orange close to the skin. It should smell faintly sweet and orangey. 

If an orange smells too strongly, it indicates it is going bad.

But what about when you get your oranges home? Let’s look at the best way to store your oranges.

Best Way to Store Oranges

Oranges should be stored in an airtight container in the crisper drawer of your fridge.

We know displaying a whole fruit bowl full of oranges in your kitchen is gorgeous, but this will only keep them fresh for a while. We recommend only storing them this way if they will be eaten soon.

The ideal way to store oranges for optimum freshness is by keeping them in the fridge, if possible, in the crisper drawer. The cool environment will maintain their texture and keep them juicy.

Speaking of eating oranges, many of us a familiar with oranges as a snack or a drink, but how else can oranges be used?

Uses For Oranges

Oranges are such a versatile fruit; you’ll find it easy to inject some vitamin C into your diet. [*]

They are commonly known as breakfast fruit, where they are used as a juice, in smoothies, and eaten fresh. My favorite way to consume oranges is by drinking a big glass of orange juice; it’s refreshing and a great way to start the day.

But did you know that oranges can also be used for cooking?

Oranges work well alongside meat like a duck for a classic dish like duck al orange. We love incorporating citrus fruit into our savory dishes because it adds a whole new level of flavor.

But they are also the perfect fruit to bake with. Their juice and zest can be used in cakes, custards, tarts, and almost anything else you can think of! Some cakes are even made using whole-boiled oranges.

We love using orange peel to make a tasty marmalade to spread on toast. It just tastes so much better when you’ve made it yourself.

Tip for incorporating oranges into meals: 

Get creative with oranges by adding their vibrant flavor and tanginess to your everyday meals. 
Consider including orange segments in salads for a refreshing burst of citrus, or squeeze fresh orange juice to use as a marinade for meats or as a flavor enhancer in various recipes.
The natural acidity and sweetness of oranges can complement both savory and sweet dishes, adding a delightful twist to your culinary creations.


How can you tell if an orange is sweet?

There is an easy test to see if an orange is sweet, Lightly scratch the skin and smell the exposed zest. If it smells sweet, then it should taste sweet.

Can I freeze oranges?

Yes, you can freeze oranges. We usually do this to save them from going bad before we can eat them. 

We like to peel and segment our oranges before placing them in labeled Ziploc bags in the freezer.

They can be removed and added to a sauce or blitzed into a smoothie straight from frozen.

What color is a ripe orange?

A ripe orange is usually bright orange, but the colors may change depending on the temperature. Ripe oranges may be pale yellow or have green patches.


Now that we know so much more about oranges, what can we take away from this?

  • Fresh oranges will be heavy and have firm, slightly textured skin.
  • The skin should be unbroken and free of mold.
  • Oranges should be stored in the crisper drawer of your fridge.

The next time you’re in the fruit section, keep this article in mind so you can find the perfect orange.

Have you tried our tips on “how to pick oranges at the grocery store” and/or do you have more tips to share? Let us know in the commend section below! We love to hear from you!

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