How To Eat Cara Cara
Anything a navel orange can do, cara cara oranges can do (and sometimes better). Cara cara orange builds on traditional orange flavor with floral and berry-like notes that add fruity dimension to its juice. The cara cara orange is beloved for its unusual, rosy pink flesh, and to get a sense of their flavor, imagine tasting a ripe, juicy orange that has a subtly sweet taste of jammy strawberries.
Cara cara oranges can be squeezed for an upgraded morning juice, sliced as a snack, and used in recipes for desserts, meals and salads. 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.
Whether eating slices at soccer practice or adding cara cara orange supremes to a fresh salad, you will love how cara cara oranges taste like naval oranges with a sweet twist. Cara cara oranges are easy to use in food and drink recipes where you want acidic citrus flavor without too much pucker. Their florally sweet flavor is perfect for glazes, marinades, desserts, cocktails and anywhere you might use a typical orange.
Typically seedless, cara cara oranges may have a few seeds from time to time. If you find a cara cara orange seed, spit it out or separate it from the fruit the same way you might for a navel orange or lemon.
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.
Keep reading to learn about the different ways you can peel, prepare and eat a cara cara orange!
Peeling a Cara Cara Orange
If you’ve ever handled a navel orange, you know how to peel a cara cara orange! Like other citrus fruits, cara cara orange peels are made of a thin layer of waxy skin that contains tiny pockets of citrus oil. Beneath the layer of zest is a thick and inedible white pith that surrounds the ball of soft individual sections of cara cara orange.
Removing the peel from cara cara oranges is easy, and here are a few of the simplest ways to peel a cara cara orange:
- Using your thumb, gently apply pressure to the thick skin to puncture it down to the fruit. Gently pull back the pithy layer, sniffing deeply every time you rip a piece of peel away (it’s an intoxicating fragrance), until you’ve removed the entire rind.
- Score around the entire circumference of the cara cara orange with a citrus peeler, beginning at the top of the fruit. Then, quarter turn the fruit in your hand and score it around the circumference again, making four equal sections of peel. Finally, shimmy the pointy end of the peeler under the skin between the pith and fruit of the cara cara orange and slide it down to easily peel back the rind. Remove the remaining sections of peel in the same way.
- With a sharp knife, slice off the top ¼ inch of the peel to create a flat surface. Turn the fruit onto this flat surface so that cara cara the orange will not roll away. Beginning at the top and slicing down, carefully pare away the peel by cutting around the fruit to remove all visible pith and peel. Finish by slicing off the remaining bit of rind at the top of the fruit.
Slicing a Cara Cara Orange
Before slicing an orange, decide whether you want to keep the peel intact or not. Even though cara cara orange peels are inedible, they make for a beautiful presentation and easy snack handling. Here are some of the easiest, most common ways of how to slice a cara cara orange:
- Wedges: Cut the cara cara orange in half longways with a sharp knife. Then, slice each half in half twice more for eight orange slices.
- Slices: Make beautiful rounds of cara cara orange to float in drinks or to top off delicate fish. Simply place the whole fruit, belly side down, onto the cutting board. With a sharp knife, slice the fruit as thick or thin as your recipe requires.
Zesting Cara Cara Orange
If you’re lucky enough to have cara cara oranges around, take advantage of their precious peel! Cara cara orange peels contain flavorful essential oils that can be used in recipes calling for citrus zest. Just be sure to avoid the bitter white pith.
Cara cara orange zest can be used in countless ways. Use it to top off pancakes, bake into muffins, wake up dressings, make flavorful citrus salts, shake into cocktails and beyond!
- Use a microplane for fine shreds of delicate zest.
- Use a citrus peeler, channel knife or paring knife to create wide curls and fine ribbons of cara cara orange zest.
Cooking Cara Cara Orange
Reimagine any citrus recipe using cara cara oranges and you’ll be rewarded with a whole new citrus flavor experience. Cara cara orange is sweeter and less acidic than your typical orange. When cooked into recipes, cara cara orange brightens up flavors with low acidity and imparts a nectary sweet, strawberry-orange flavor. Here are some of the best ways to use cara cara orange in your cooking:
- Baking: cara cara orange can be baked into cakes, breads, creams and tarts.
- Confection: The red berry flavor of the tart cara cara orange is delicious in jams, jellies and candy making.
- Pastries: Create flavorful cara cara orange creams, cakes and breads using the fruit, juice and zest of this unusual orange.
Drinking Cara Cara Orange
Cara cara orange is made for drinkin’. The juice itself is delicious on its own or with other produce. Syrups, cocktails, enhanced waters, smoothies and sodas will feel extra special when made with cara cara orange.
Here are some easy ways use cara cara orange in your drinks:
- Juicing: Using a juice machine, citrus press, squeezing dish or your trustiest hand, cara cara oranges are easy to juice. Combine cara cara oranges with other flavors from strawberry, pear, carrot, mango and pineapple.
- Smoothies: Fresh or frozen cara cara orange is perfect in fruit, yogurt and green smoothies.
- Cocktails: Juice and zest from cara cara orange makes your morning mimosa sweeter and your tiki drinks even happier.
As you can see, there’s no limit to the ways you can eat, drink and enjoy cara cara oranges. Sign up for the FruitStand newsletter to be the first to know when we’re shipping top quality cara cara oranges from our small farm partners!