Are oranges good for juicing?

Oranges are one of the most popular fruits in the world. Their sweet, tangy flavor makes them a refreshing snack as well as a versatile ingredient. Oranges are also packed with vitamin C and other important nutrients. But when it comes to juicing, are oranges the best choice?

Nutritional Benefits of Orange Juice

There are certainly some health perks to drinking fresh squeezed orange juice. A 6 oz glass provides:

  • 80-100% of your daily vitamin C needs
  • 10% DV for folate
  • 12% DV for potassium
  • 10% DV for thiamine

Vitamin C is a powerful antioxidant that supports immune function and collagen production. Folate is important for red blood cell production and growth. Potassium helps maintain healthy blood pressure. Thiamine helps convert food into energy.

The vitamin C content starts to decline immediately after juicing, so fresh squeezed is best. Store-bought orange juice is usually fortified to have 100% DV for vitamin C despite pasteurization. But the rest of the nutrients may degrade over time.

Drawbacks of Orange Juice

Despite the benefits, drinking orange juice does come with some downsides:

  • High sugar content – An 8 oz glass has 21 grams of sugar. The majority is from naturally-occurring fructose in the oranges.
  • Low in fiber – Juicing strips away the flesh and fiber of the orange, leaving just the juice.
  • Acidic – The citric acid in orange juice can exacerbate digestive issues like reflux.
  • Contains carcinogens – Juice processing produces trace amounts of potential carcinogens like limonene.

The table below shows how orange juice compares to an average orange:

Nutrient 8 oz Orange Juice 1 Medium Orange
Calories 112 69
Sugar 21 grams 12 grams
Fiber 0.5 grams 3 grams
Vitamin C 100% DV 100% DV

As you can see, juicing causes the calories and sugar to become concentrated while the fiber is lost. So eating whole oranges is a healthier choice.

Best Oranges for Juicing

If you still want to use oranges for juicing, which are the best varieties?

  • Navel oranges – Sweet, seedless, and easy to peel. Their juice has a bright orange color.
  • Valencia oranges – Also seedless with a bold, tangy flavor. Valencias have a later harvest season than navels.
  • Cara cara oranges – A type of navel orange with a distinctive pink flesh. It has a less acidic flavor.
  • Blood oranges – Named for their dark red flesh and juice. The anthocyanin antioxidants create the unique color.

Navel and Valencia oranges are the most widely available. Cara caras and blood oranges may be harder to find depending on location and season.

Here is a comparison of soluble solids and acid content for some common orange varieties:

Orange Type Soluble Solids Titratable Acidity
Navel 11.5% .85%
Valencia 11% .93%
Cara cara 12.5% .59%
Blood orange 11-12% .80%

Soluble solids indicate the sugar content, while titratable acidity measures sourness. Cara caras are less acidic compared to other varieties.

Alternatives for Juicing

While oranges make a tasty juice, their high sugar and low fiber are downsides. Here are some alternatives to consider:

  • Apple – Sweeter than oranges and contains pectin fiber. Works well blended with carrots and ginger.
  • Grapefruit – Has a lower GI and glycemic load compared to orange juice. Provides vitamin C.
  • Pomegranate – Loaded with antioxidants and polyphenols. Has less sugar than orange juice.
  • Tomato – Mixes well with carrot and beet juice. Provides lycopene and vitamin C.
  • Strawberry – Blends perfectly into green juices. Low sugar and high in vitamin C.

Combining oranges with lower sugar fruits and vegetables can create a more balanced juice. You can also add greens like spinach or kale to the mix.

Tips for Juicing Oranges

If you do want to use oranges for juicing, here are some tips:

  • Select fruits that are fully ripe. Oranges don’t ripen further once picked.
  • Wash the skin thoroughly before peeling.
  • Peel oranges first before juicing to reduce oxidation.
  • Use a citrus juicer or reamer for best extraction. Juicers work too.
  • Drink orange juice immediately or store for up to 2-3 days in an airtight container.
  • Add a squeeze of lemon juice to prevent browning.
  • Combine with carrot, apple, ginger or grapefruit juice.
  • Leave the pulp in for more fiber and nutrients.

Maximize the nutrition by juicing oranges right before drinking. Mixing with low glycemic fruits and veggies can also help reduce the sugar content.


Oranges can make a tasty and nutritious addition to your juices. Their sweet flavor combines well with other fruits and veggies. However, on their own orange juice is high in sugar due to its lack of fiber. Drinking large amounts may increase risk for weight gain and diabetes.

By blending oranges with lower glycemic alternatives like apples or carrots, you can enjoy their flavor while reducing sugar. Leaving pulp in the juice provides more filling fiber too. Just be sure to limit your intake of fruit juice in general as part of a healthy diet.

Drinking whole oranges or eating them in fruit salads is a healthier way to enjoy their vitamin C and antioxidants. But when used in moderation alongside other low sugar produce, oranges can liven up your homemade juices.

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