From the outside, Cara Cara oranges looks like a regular, bright-colored navel orange. Cut one open, however, and you’ll see why it’s anything but ordinary. Its flesh is bright pink-red and so juicy!
The first time I cut into one, I thought I had mistakenly bought a ruby red grapefruit. But once I tasted it, I knew it was something different, as it offers up a flavor that’s crisp and sweet with subtle hints of berries and cherries–and is wonderful!
What are Cara Cara Oranges?
These unique oranges were first discovered in 1976 at Hacienda Cara Cara in Venezuela (hence the name) and are now grown in California. They’re a natural occurring cross between two navel orange varieties, the Washington and Brazilian Bahia, and are steadily gaining popularity. Their peak season is between December and April.
5 Reasons to Love Cara Cara Oranges
I love to squeeze Cara Caras for their juice, it’s so refreshing—and also makes a damn good margarita : ) But there’s a lot more to love. Here are my top 5 reasons why you need to develop a Cara Cara crush:
1. There’s no puckering up when you eat one of these gems, they’re low in acid, so aren’t sour like other citrus can be.
2. Their fresh berry-infused flavor gives them an amazing, refreshing taste.
3. The oranges are seedless and very juicy, which makes them great for cooking.
4. The Cara Cara contains 20 percent more vitamin C and 30 percent more vitamin A than other navels of the same size.
5. Its lovely coloring comes from the natural presence of lycopene, a powerful antioxidant so, eating these beauties is a good way to boost immunity in the cold-weather months.
The navel orange gets its name from the small hole that resembles a belly button, or human navel, at the blossom end of its stem.
I could keep going on about how much I love these beauties, but let’s get to the cooking. One of my favorite ways to use the Cara Cara is this recipe for pan-seared chicken breasts with a fresh orange sauce. Two key points, don’t skip the brining, as it makes the chicken juicy and flavorful. And if you’ve never sectioned an orange, it’s super easy to do, just follow the step-by-step photos below.