Oranges cannot be ripened after they have been harvested, so the key is to harvest them at just the right moment of their growing season. By verifying the variety of orange, home growers can help to narrow down when their oranges should be ready for eating.
Oranges are slightly different from other fruits in that they do not continue to ripen after they are harvested. The key to enjoying ripe oranges is to harvest them properly.
- Keep an eye on the tree As soon as oranges begin to fall from the tree, start harvesting the fruit. This indicates that the fruit is mature.
- Make note of the variety Different varieties of oranges mature at different times of the year. Most varieties are ripe in the fall. Between September and October, Hamlin and Parson Brown oranges should be ready. Jaffa oranges should be ready in the middle of the growing season, between November and December. Navels should be ready through February, and Valencias can be mature as late as midsummer.
- Test an orange For home growers who are not sure what variety of orange they have, a taste test is the best way to know if the fruit is mature. Pluck an orange and taste a few segments. If the fruit is sweet, juicy and delicious, then the others on the tree should be close to ready as well.