Whether or not to peel oranges before juicing is a common question for those new to making their own fresh orange juice at home. There are pros and cons to peeling oranges before juicing that are important to consider when deciding what works best for your needs. In this article, we’ll explore the purpose of peeling, look at the benefits and downsides, and provide tips to help you determine if peeling oranges before juicing is right for you.
What is the purpose of peeling oranges before juicing?
The white pith or albedo underneath the orange peel contains bitter flavonoids and essential oils that can give freshly squeezed orange juice a tart, bitter taste. Peeling the orange removes this pith and outer skin, leaving just the sweet, juicy fruit behind. This results in sweeter, smoother, better tasting orange juice.
Peeling also removes any dirt, chemicals or wax sitting on the surface of the orange skin. Oranges are treated with fungicides and other chemicals to keep them fresh during shipping. Wax is often applied to make the oranges shine. While likely safe to ingest in small amounts, peeling removes these substances from the equation completely.
Finally, peeling makes for easier juicing. The tough outer peel can jam up a juicer. Removing it ahead of time prevents clogs and allows the juicer to work more efficiently.
So in summary, the purpose of peeling is to:
– Remove bitter white pith for better taste
– Eliminate surface dirt, chemicals and wax
– Prevent clogging while juicing
This results in fresher, sweeter, smoother orange juice.
Benefits of peeling oranges before juicing
Here are some of the key benefits that peeling your oranges first provides:
– **Improved flavor** – Removing the bitter white pith results in sweeter, smoother tasting orange juice with no tart or tangy aftertaste. This is the biggest benefit.
– **Less mess and clogging** – A juicer has an easier time processing peeled orange slices. No peel to get jammed or leave messy shreds behind.
– **More nutrition** – While the peel does contain nutrients, you can actually absorb more of the beneficial vitamins, minerals and antioxidants from orange juice without the peel. The pulp left behind when juicing peeled oranges captures more of the good stuff.
– **Longer lasting** – Juice made from peeled oranges tends to last a bit longer in the refrigerator before spoiling. The antimicrobial properties of the peel are removed, allowing the juice to stay fresher longer.
– **Appearance** – Orange juice from peeled oranges often has a brighter, more vibrant color versus when made with peel. It simply looks more appealing.
So for ideal flavor, texture, nutrition and appearance – peeling oranges first is advantageous.
Downsides of peeling oranges before juicing
Despite the benefits, there are a few potential drawbacks to consider as well:
– **Time consuming** – Having to peel each orange by hand takes more prep time versus just halving and juicing them whole. It can be tedious.
– **Loss of nutrients** – While the peel does contain bitter flavors, it also contains healthy nutrients like vitamin C, citrus bioflavours, calcium and magnesium. These are lost when the peel is removed. However, you still get a good amount from just the fruit.
– **Oxidation** – Once peeled, the exposed orange flesh will start to oxidize and lose some freshness. This isn’t a big issue if juicing right away, but could be if you peel oranges in advance.
– **Mess** – Peels, pith and juicy orange slices can make a mess on cutting boards, counters, hands and clothes while prepping. Things can get sticky.
So weigh these cons against the flavor and juicing benefits to decide if it’s worth it for you. Using tricks like squeezing by hand first can reduce any prep work drawbacks.
Tips for peeling oranges
If you do choose to peel your oranges before juicing, here are some tips to make it easier:
– Use a sharp knife or vegetable peeler. The sharper the better for removing just the outer skin.
– Start by cutting a small slice off the top and bottom. Then stand the orange on end to peel downward from top to bottom. This gives you a flat base to stand it on.
– Try rotating the orange in your hand as you peel rather than holding it in place.
– Peel in large strips, removing all white pith along with the outer skin.
– Use short, light strokes rather than trying to peel off large sections at once.
– Rinse the peeled oranges since some pith may still be attached in spots. Pat dry before juicing.
– Consider wearing gloves to keep hands from getting too sticky.
– Use a basin or bowl of water to collect peels, limiting mess and making cleaning easier.
Take your time with the peeling process and have all your oranges prepped before you start juicing. Stick to the softer naval oranges which are easier to peel than thicker skinned varieties like Valencia.
Do you have to peel oranges to juice them?
After considering the pros and cons, whether or not you absolutely must peel oranges before juicing comes down to personal preference. Here are some factors to help decide:
– If you’re using a powerful, heavy-duty juicer, peeling is less critical since the juicer can likely handle whole oranges. But with lower powered models, peeling helps.
– Taste preference matters. If you don’t mind bitter notes or pulp, leave the peel. If you want sweet, smooth juice, peel them.
– How much time you have is important. Peeling takes more prep work so skip if in a hurry.
– If making juice only for yourself, peel for best flavor. If making juice for others, consider their tastes and time constraints too.
So while peeling oranges is not an absolute must, it does have tangible benefits. Weigh these against your own preferences, tools, and situation to decide if it’s worth it for your needs. You may choose to peel certain types of oranges but not others. Test juicing oranges both ways to see which you prefer.
Best oranges for juicing
The type of orange used also impacts the flavor and whether or not to peel. Some of the top varieties for juicing include:
|Orange Variety||Juicing Notes|
|Navel||Sweet, seedless; thin peel|
|Valencia||Tart but sweet; thick peel|
|Cara Cara||Low acid, sweet; pink flesh|
|Blood orange||Berry flavor; vibrant red flesh|
Navel and Cara Cara oranges have thinner, easier to remove peels, making them ideal candidates for peeling before juicing. Blood oranges and Valencias have more flavor in the peel that you may want to retain.
Always peel and juice oranges at their peak ripeness for the best results either way. Oranges don’t continue to ripen off the tree so choose tree or vine ripened ones.
Juicing oranges with peel
If you opt not to peel your oranges first, here are some juicing tips:
– Use a high power, commercial grade juicer that can handle the peel.
– Remove any stems which can clog the juicer.
– Cut the oranges in half before juicing to make them easier to feed into the machine.
– Press gently when juicing to avoid a peel back up.
– Mix peeled and unpeeled oranges for balanced flavor.
– Strain the finished juice if you want to catch any large pieces of peel.
– Consider zesting the peel first to use the outermost flavonoid rich layer.
Keep in mind juicing with the peel may require more cleaning afterward to remove leftover pulp and shreds that stick to the juicer parts.
Should you peel oranges for store bought juice?
When it comes to store bought orange juice, manufacturers actually do peel the oranges during processing. The peels are extracted through centrifugation and filtration to produce a clearer, smoother product. So you’re getting the benefits of oranges peeled when you buy juice off the shelf.
The downside is most store bought orange juice is made from juice concentrates, often heavily processed and pasteurized, losing some flavor and nutrition. Freshly squeezing peeled oranges makes a superior glass of juice.
Storing peeled oranges
If you want to peel oranges in advance, you can store them in the refrigerator for 1-2 days until you’re ready to juice. Here are some storage tips:
– Place peeled orange slices or segments in an airtight container.
– Cover with a bit of fresh orange juice or lemon juice to keep air away.
– Make sure all surfaces are coated to prevent browning.
– Use a plastic rather than metal container since metal can cause off flavors.
– Keep refrigerated and use within 24-48 hours for best quality.
Proper storage preserves most of the fresh orange flavor and texture.
To summarize, peeling oranges before juicing does provide several benefits. The removal of the bitter white pith makes for a sweeter, smoother juice without the pulpy, tart notes. It also allows for easier, more efficient juicing. The downsides are mainly increased prep time and potential loss of nutrients.
Consider your personal tastes, juicer model, orange variety and time constraints when deciding whether or not to peel. Often a mix of peeled and unpeeled oranges creates a well balanced fresh squeezed juice. Employ proper storage techniques if peeling oranges in advance. Follow these tips to create refreshing orange juice that makes the most of the citrusy flavor.