Outside, cara caras look nearly identical to the navel oranges you already know and love. Cara cara oranges are slightly smaller than a softball with a pithy orange peel (the zest is amazing) and individual citrus fruit sections inside.
You’ll ooh and aah the first time you slice into a cara cara orange because of their unusually pink-orange color. Inside, cara cara orange fruit is a blushy pink color and is known to be less pulpy than a navel orange.
This isn’t your run of the mill orange. The cara cara orange is beloved for its rosy pink citrus flesh, and flavor that’s sweeter and more berry-like than standard oranges. To get a sense of the flavor of cara cara orange, imagine tasting a ripe, juicy orange that has flavors of jammy berries like strawberry.
Sometimes confused with a blood orange, cara cara oranges are known by other names like the power orange (a nod to its high nutrient content) and caracara navels.
You can tell that a cara cara orange is ripe the same way as other citrus fruits. A ripe cara cara orange will have relatively clear skin that is golden orange throughout and have a weightiness to it in the palm of your hand. Don’t worry about little scrapes or scars as citrus skin is pretty tough and does a good job of protecting the cara cara fruit inside. Cara cara oranges are as easy to peel as regular oranges, making them great on-the-go snacks or in lunchboxes.
Cara cara oranges are a relatively new fruit that just might have been a result of a naturally occurring genetic mutation of another citrus, the Washington navel. In the late 1980’s, cara cara oranges are believed to have arrived in the United States from their native Valencia, Venezuela.
Cara cara oranges are strikingly similar in outward appearance to a navel orange. Their skin is a bright, golden yellow when ripe.
You can tell that a cara cara orange is ripe the same way as many other citrus fruits. A ripe cara cara orange will be baseball sized and feel weighty in the palm of your hand. Cara cara oranges have a bright, golden yellow when ripe and a pleasantly sweet citrus fragrance if you come up close for a sniff.
If you’ve ever handled a navel orange, you already know how to prepare a cara cara orange!
Cara cara orange flesh can be eaten raw right out of the peel, juiced, used in fruit and vegetable salads, or as an ingredient in millions of dishes. Use cara cara orange in recipes that call for navel orange like drinks, desserts, savory recipes and snacks with a sweet, complex citrus flavor. Whip out the microplane and use cara cara orange zest on top of avocado toast, in cheesecakes or anywhere you might use citrus zest.
Cara cara oranges are almost always seedless, but one can appear from time to time. If you find a cara cara seed, spit it out or separate it from the fruit the same way you might for a navel orange or lemon.
Cara cara oranges were discovered in Valencia, Venezuela in the late 1970s. Today cara cara oranges grow throughout South and North America.
Cara cara oranges have antioxidants like lycopene, and are packed with vitamins A and C.
A medium sized cara cara orange contains:
See more nutritional information about cara cara orange from the USDA.
In the United States, cara cara oranges are in season from late fall through early spring. Here, cara cara season begins at the end of November and lasts until early April. Peak time for cara cara oranges in California is January through March.
Anything a navel orange can do, cara cara oranges can do (sometimes better). Cara cara orange builds on traditional orange flavor with floral and berry-like notes that add fruity dimension to its juice.
Cara cara oranges can be squeezed for eyes-roll-back delicious juice, sliced for snacks, used in fruity desserts like sorbet and tarts, or added to salads. Cara cara orange is delicious in juice and smoothie recipes, and makes cocktails taste like someone with a well-groomed moustache made them for you.
The taste of cara cara orange is similar to that of a ripe, juicy orange that also has as strawberryish raspberry flavor that makes it sweeter and less acidic than conventional orange juice.
Cara cara orange is well suited for all kinds of recipes where citrus is applied. As suggested by its sunset pink color, cara cara oranges have a slightly berrylike orange flavor that works well in beverages, pastries and sweets as well as savory snacks and dishes. Best of all, cara cara oranges are very special fruits that are a pleasure to enjoy straight out of the peel!
Like most citrus, cara cara is deliciously drinkable. Use it in juices, syrups, cocktails, enhanced waters, smoothies and sodas. If you can drink it, cara cara can probably make it taste even better.
Cara cara oranges can be stored on the counter or the refrigerator. With fruit this special, we recommend storing your cara cara oranges in the refrigerator to keep them fresher for longer. Plus, cold cara cara oranges are so refreshing!
Yes! Good dogs can have cara cara orange slices in moderation if they pass your pooch’s sniff test (not all doggos dig citrus). Remove the temptation of cara cara orange peels away from curious pups, since ingesting them can cause serious tummy trouble like blockages.
Your FruitStand fam encourages you to clear the safety of any new fruits or veggies with your veterinarian before offering them your pooch.
Cara cara oranges have a distinct pinkish orange color that could stain fabrics. If you get any cara cara juice on your clothing, spot treat it right away to keep it from setting in.
Keep a portable stain stick on hand for impromptu fruit feasts. Quickly treating a fruit juice spot greatly increases your chances of avoiding a stain.
In life, a little fruit must fall. If you drop a bit of cara cara orange on your clothing, table cloth or napkins, first treat the spot with a stain remover that’s safe for that particular fabric. Follow the directions on the product to prevent the spot from setting, and pop the item into the washer as soon as you can.
Is a cara cara orange the same thing as a blood orange? It’s not! Cara cara oranges have a pinker tone to their flesh than blood oranges. While the cara car orange color develops because it contains carotenoids like lycopene (that good stuff found in tomatoes), the deep ruby color of a blood orange occurs because it contains anthocyanins, which is what gives deeply colored berries their hue.
If cara cara oranges spoil, you may smell something a little funky. Every two to three months, we recommend getting a new, good old fashioned box of baking soda for your fridge to capture unpleasant aromas before they set off any fog horns.