Oranges are easy to pluck from the tree; the trick is knowing when to harvest an orange.

If you’ve ever purchased oranges from your local grocer, you are aware that uniform orange color is not necessarily an indicator of a delicious and juicy orange; the fruit sometimes gets stained, which confuses things.

The same general rule applies when harvesting oranges; color is not always a determining factor.

When to harvest an orange?

Harvest times for oranges vary by variety. Orange picking can occur anytime from March to December or January. It helps to know what variety of oranges you have to determine the right time to pick them.

Here is a small guide to the harvesting periods according to variety:

  • Washington Navel: Harvesting from November to May.
  • Barnfield Late Navel: Harvest from January to May.
  • Chislett Summer Navel: Harvesting from January to May.
  • Navelate: Harvesting from January to March.
  • Navelina: Harvesting from October to January.
  • Sucreña: Harvesting from December to February.
  • Salustiana: Harvesting from December to March.
  • Valencia Late: Harvesting from March to July.
  • Valencia Late Frost: Harvesting from April to July.
  • Moro: Harvesting from January to February.
  • Sanguinelli: Harvesting from January to March.
  • Tarocco Rosso: Harvesting from January to March.

As you can see, determining what type of orange you have gives you a clue as to when the fruit is ready. In general, most of the orange harvest takes place between late September and early spring

How to harvest oranges

Knowing how to choose a ripe orange can be tricky. As mentioned above, color is not always an indicator of an orange’s ripeness.

That being said, you don’t want to pick green fruit. In many cases, the ripe fruit will simply fall from the tree. Check the fruit for mold, mildew, or blemishes. Choose an orange to harvest that smells sweet, fresh, and citrusy, not moldy.

The surest way to check if an orange tree is ready to be picked is to taste one or two fruits before harvesting the entire tree. Remember, citrus fruits do not continue to ripen once they are removed from the tree.

To harvest the oranges, simply take the ripe fruit in your hand and gently twist it until the stem detaches from the tree. If the fruit is too high, use a ladder to climb as high as you can and shake the branches to loosen the fruit. Hopefully, the fruit will fall to the ground like a fall from the sky.

The skin of oranges tends to be very thin and therefore tears easily, it is best to use scissors to cut the stems. Some varieties of oranges need to be allowed to ripen on the tree for a few more months rather than harvesting the entire tree at once. It’s a great storage method, and the fruit often turns sweeter. Go ahead and pick up the fruit that has fallen from the tree to the ground. Inspect for broken skin. Throw away those with open wounds, but the rest should be fine to eat. And so, citrus growers, is how they choose an orange.

All oranges are excellent for our line of industrial juicers!