Navel oranges are a juicy, sweet variety of orange that gets its name because it appears to have a tiny navel, or belly button. It is a seedless orange with thick skin that is relatively easy to peel compared to other varieties. Navel oranges may not be as juicy as they should be for a few reasons.
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One cause of a navel orange that is not juicy is a citrus fruit disorder called granulation. This disorder is the likely cause if you have your own navel orange tree and all of the fruit from this tree is dry and hard. This disorder causes the sacs inside of the orange, where the juice is stored, to go dry. Granulation has many causes, including rapid growth, dry weather and lack of water. Ensure the navel orange tree has plenty of water and fertiliser.
An immature tree will not produce as high of a quality fruit as a more mature tree. A navel orange tree will need to be at least 5 years old before it starts producing quality, sweet and juicy oranges.
Navel oranges are ready for harvest between late December and early January. By the end of January, the navel oranges may be dry and less juicy or sweet. If harvested before the proper harvesting time, the navel oranges will be bitter, sour and less juicy than ripe ones.
Choosing Navel Oranges
When choosing navel oranges, checking the weight of the orange is the most important way to know if it is juicy. A heavier orange will be juicier than a lighter orange. Brighter oranges will also have more juice than paler navel oranges. If the navel of the orange smells like a fresh orange, it is likelier to be juicy. If it smells old or musky, the orange might not be good.
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