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Are you supposed to peel oranges before juicing?

Oranges are one of the most popular fruits in the world. They are delicious, nutritious, and versatile fruits that can be enjoyed in many ways. One popular way to enjoy oranges is by juicing them to make fresh orange juice. But when preparing oranges for juicing, many people wonder if you need to peel the oranges first or if you can juice them with the peels on.

Should You Peel Oranges Before Juicing?

The general recommendation is to peel oranges before juicing. Here are some of the main reasons why peeling oranges is ideal for juicing:

  • Peeling removes the bitter white pith – The white part of the orange peel contains aromatic oils and bitter flavors that can make orange juice taste unpleasantly bitter. Peeling the oranges helps remove this pith.
  • Easier juicing – Orange peels are quite thick and fibrous. Trying to juice oranges without peeling can be difficult for many juicers to process and extract juice efficiently.
  • Better flavor – Orange peel contains essential oils that give the peel a intense, robust flavor. This strong flavor can overpower the sweet and bright taste of orange juice. Peeling allows the fruit flavor to shine.
  • Smoother texture – Juice made with peel can have a more bitter, pithy texture while peeled oranges make juice that is sweeter and smoother.

Additionally, some people find that eating or juicing too much of the peel can cause mild digestive upset due to the citrus oils. So peeling typically leads to better taste, texture, and digestibility.

Are There Any Benefits to Juicing with Peel?

While peeling oranges is generally recommended, juicing oranges with the peel does have some benefits that may make it worthwhile in some cases. Here are some of the top benefits of juicing oranges unpeeled:

  • More fiber – Orange peel is a good source of fiber. Juicing with the peel provides extra fiber intake.
  • Additional nutrients – Orange peel contains higher concentrations of some nutrients like vitamin C, calcium, and magnesium compared to orange fruit.
  • Antioxidants – Compounds like flavonoids and limonoids with antioxidant properties are most concentrated in the peel.
  • Stronger flavor – Some people enjoy the bold, zesty flavor provided by the orange peel oils.

If you want to maximize the nutritional value or enjoy a stronger citrus kick, juicing oranges without peeling can be an option. Just be aware the texture and taste will be different than juice made from peeled oranges.

Tips for Juicing with Orange Peel

If you want to experiment with juicing oranges unpeeled, here are some tips to help it go smoothly:

  • Wash thoroughly – Ensure all dirt, chemicals, and wax are removed by washing well before juicing.
  • Remove any stickers – Peel off produce stickers or labels to prevent juicer clogging.
  • Use a powerful juicer – Choose a juicer with tough augers that can grind through thicker peels.
  • Peel thick skins – Consider peeling especially thick, older orange peels before juicing.
  • Drink quickly – Consuming the juice right after making provides the best flavor and nutrition.
  • Blend into smoothies – Adding some orange peel juice can give smoothies a nice zesty kick.

Start by juicing only half or one whole unpeeled orange at a time to test the results. Adjust to your taste and juicer capabilities as needed.

Nutrition Comparison of Orange Juice With and Without Peel

To highlight the nutritional differences, here is a nutrition comparison of 1 cup (237ml) of orange juice made from peeled oranges versus juice with peel:

Nutrient Orange Juice (No Peel) Orange Juice (With Peel)
Calories 112 112
Total Carbohydrates 25g 25g
Sugars 21g 21g
Dietary Fiber 0.5g 2g
Protein 1.7g 1.7g
Vitamin C 124mg (207% DV) 138mg (230% DV)
Thiamin 0.1mg (7% DV) 0.1mg (8% DV)
Niacin 0.3mg (1% DV) 0.4mg (2% DV)
Vitamin B6 0.1mg (4% DV) 0.1mg (7% DV)
Folate 30mcg (7% DV) 35mcg (8% DV)
Potassium 496mg (10% DV) 501mg (11% DV)
Calcium 27mg (2% DV) 33mg (3% DV)
Iron 0.3mg (1% DV) 0.4mg (2% DV)
Magnesium 17mg (4% DV) 21mg (5% DV)

As you can see, juice containing orange peel has slightly higher levels of most vitamins, minerals, and fiber compared to juice made from peeled oranges. The biggest differences are the fiber content and vitamin C levels.

Potential Downsides to Juicing with Peels

Despite the possible benefits, there are also some potential downsides to consider with juicing oranges unpeeled:

  • Pesticide risk – Orange peel may contain higher pesticide residues if not organic.
  • Higher oxalate – Oxalates are antinutrients found in many plants that can bind minerals like calcium.
  • Higher flavonoid content – While beneficial antioxidants, very high flavonoid intake may be risky for certain people.
  • Bitter taste – Orange peel compounds can create an intensely bitter flavor.
  • Greater burden on digestion – The tough fiber and oils may be hard for some people to digest.
  • Not recommended for young children – Due to choking hazards from the thicker texture.

These potential cons should be considered, especially for certain higher risk groups like children, pregnant women, and those with kidney issues or other health conditions where the compounds in orange peel may be problematic.

Best Oranges for Juicing

All varieties of oranges can be used for juicing, but some types tend to produce better results and taste. Here are some of the top types of oranges to use for juicing:

Orange Variety Description
Navel oranges Sweet, seedless oranges that are easy to peel. Produce good yield and sweet mild juice.
Valencia oranges Thin skinned juicing oranges with few seeds and high juice content. Widely used for commercial orange juice.
Cara cara oranges Sweet pink-fleshed oranges with a bright red interior. Provide vibrant color and mild juice.
Blood oranges Oranges with a dark red flesh and juice. Adds bold color and berry-like flavor.
Mandarin oranges Sweet, easy peeling variety. Use for a light, delicately flavored juice.

Navel and Valencia oranges are great choices for juicing since they are easy to peel, readily available year round, and create juice with the typical orange flavor most people expect. Cara caras, blood oranges, and mandarins can also add interesting flavors, nutrition, and visual appeal.

Best Practices for Juicing Oranges

Follow these tips to get the maximum amount of nutrition and flavor when juicing oranges:

  • Select fresh, ripe oranges – Choose oranges that feel heavy for their size with bright, vibrant colored peel.
  • Wash oranges – Rinse under water to remove dirt, debris, and surface microbes.
  • Peel oranges – Remove the outer peel and white pith which contains bitter compounds.
  • Cut oranges – Slice oranges into rounds or halves to fit produce chute on juicer.
  • Juice oranges right away – For maximum freshness and nutrient retention.
  • Alternate orange halves – Alternate pushing orange halves through the juicer to extract the most juice.
  • Juice softer fruits/veggies first – Juice softer produce like berries before hard produce like oranges.
  • Stir or shake juice – Stir or gently shake juice to blend all ingredients.
  • Drink immediately – Consume orange juice right after making for the best quality.
  • Store properly if needed – Seal and refrigerate juice for up to 3 days if not drinking right away.

Following these best practices will help yield a flavorful, nutritious orange juice perfect for enjoying on its own or using in smoothies, cocktails, marinades, and other recipes.

Health Benefits of Orange Juice

Drinking freshly squeezed orange juice provides a range of important vitamins, minerals, and health-protective plant compounds. Here are some of the top benefits of orange juice:

  • Immune supporting vitamin C – Oranges are high in vitamin C, which boosts white blood cell function for improved immunity.
  • Heart healthy potassium – Orange juice contains potassium that can help lower blood pressure by balancing fluids and relaxing blood vessels.
  • Folate for healthy cells – Provides folate, a B vitamin needed for DNA synthesis and red blood cell production.
  • Vision protecting antioxidants – Carotenoids like zeaxanthin and lutein in oranges support eye health and lower risk of macular degeneration.
  • Cancer fighting properties – Compounds in oranges like D-limonene and hesperidin exhibit anti-cancer activities in research.
  • Helps absorption of iron – The vitamin C increases absorption of non-heme iron from plant foods.

Enjoying fresh orange juice in moderation can be part of a healthy diet and provides key nutrients important for overall wellness.

Downsides of Orange Juice

While orange juice does provide important benefits, there are also some potential downsides to consider:

  • High in natural sugar – A 12oz glass has 21g total sugar, similar to soda.
  • May spike blood sugar – The natural sugars enter bloodstream quickly, raising sugar levels.
  • Missing fiber – Juicing oranges removes the filling fiber that helps control blood sugar response.
  • Acidic – The citric acid may contribute to reflux in sensitive people when consumed in excess.
  • May contribute to weight gain – The combination of sugars and low fiber can boost calorie intake.
  • Easy to overconsume – Large portions of juice provide excess calories, sugar, and acid.
  • Store-bought varieties lower in nutrients – Many store-bought juices have lower nutrient levels due to pasteurization and processing.

Moderating portions, opting for fresh, and pairing with protein, fat or fiber can help minimize these downsides and make orange juice part of a balanced eating pattern.


Peeling oranges before juicing is generally recommended to yield the best flavor, texture, easiest juicing, and avoid any digestive discomfort from consuming large amounts of peel. However, leaving peels on provides slightly higher nutrition, especially more fiber, vitamin C, and certain antioxidants for those interested in maximizing the benefits.

If juicing with peels, take precautions and be aware of potential pesticide risks, antinutrient content, bitter taste, and higher challenge on digestion. There is no right or wrong way, so tailor your juicing practices to your preferences, needs, and tolerance.

Focus on fresh, ripe oranges, proper juice storage, and moderate portions to enjoy orange juice as part of a healthy lifestyle. Making your own fresh squeezed orange juice allows you to control the process and ingredient quality for maximum nutrition in every glass.