Should you peel oranges before juicing them?

Oranges are a delicious and nutritious fruit that can be enjoyed in many ways. One popular way to consume oranges is by juicing them. But before you start juicing your oranges, you may be wondering – should you peel them first or just juice them whole?

There are pros and cons to peeling oranges before juicing that are worth considering. In this article, we’ll explore the benefits and downsides of peeling oranges prior to juicing to help you decide what works best for your needs.

Pros of Peeling Oranges Before Juicing

Here are some potential benefits of peeling oranges before putting them through a juicer:

  • Removes bitter white pith – The white part of orange peel contains flavonoids and essential oils that can add a bitter taste to fresh-squeezed juice. Peeling removes this pith and leaves just the sweet, juicy orange flesh.
  • Less strain on juicer – Orange peels are tough and fibrous. Running whole, unpeeled oranges through a juicer can put more wear and tear on the juicing mechanism over time.
  • More appetizing juice – Orange juice with pulpy bits of peel floating in it may not look or taste as appetizing as a smooth, peel-free juice.
  • Easier to control sweetness – The natural sugars in oranges are concentrated in the flesh or pulp. Removing the peel allows you to better control the sweetness and sugar content of the finished juice.

Cons of Peeling Oranges Before Juicing

However, there are also some downsides to consider when peeling oranges prior to making fresh juice:

  • Loss of nutrients – While orange peels contain bitter oils, they are also high in fiber, vitamin C, vitamin A, calcium, and other beneficial plant compounds. Peeling removes many of these nutrients.
  • Extra time and effort – Having to peel each orange before juicing takes more prep time and work.
  • More produce waste – Peeling oranges creates more food waste unless you also find uses for the peel, like cooking with it or creating zest.

Nutrition Comparison of Peels vs Flesh

To better understand the nutritional implications of peeling oranges, here is a comparison of the nutrient profiles of orange peels vs. flesh:

Nutrient Amount in Peels Amount in Flesh
Vitamin C 136.7 mg (228% DV) 70.7 mg (118% DV)
Thiamin 0.2 mg (15% DV) 0.1 mg (9% DV)
Folate 30.3 mcg (8% DV) 45.3 mcg (11% DV)
Calcium 161 mg (16% DV) 52.7 mg (5% DV)
Magnesium 15.5 mg (4% DV) 12.4 mg (3% DV)

As you can see, orange peels contain significantly more vitamin C, calcium, and certain B vitamins compared to the flesh or juice pulp. You miss out on some of these key nutrients if you always peel oranges before juicing them.

Considerations for Different Juicing Methods

The pros and cons of peeling oranges may also vary depending on the type of juicer you use and your juicing methods:

Centrifugal Juicers

These high-speed juicers uses a flat cutting blade and spinning sieve to separate juice from pulp. Centrifugal models may clog more easily from feeding whole oranges through. The rapid shredding also tends to incorporate more bitter oils from the peel into the juice compared to slower juicers.

Masticating Juicers

Masticating or “cold press” juicers crush and press produce to extract juice. They typically run at a slower speed of around 80 RPM. The slower speed allows masticating juicers to extract juice more gently without introducing as much bitterness from the peel.

Citrus Press Juicers

Manual lever-style citrus press juicers are specifically designed for juicing oranges, grapefruits, lemons, and limes. Using a citrus press allows you to juice oranges peel and all with minimal effort and very little bitterness. The peel also acts as a filter to catch any pulp or seeds.

Juicing Tip

One tip if juicing oranges unpeeled is to roll the fruit firmly on a hard surface before juicing. This breaks down some of the oils in the peel so they are less likely to seep into the juice.

What About Store-Bought Orange Juice?

The vast majority of commercially produced orange juice is made by processing and blending peeled, pasteurized orange flesh into juice. Any peel or pulp is filtered and removed during production. Therefore, store-bought OJ won’t confer the same nutritional benefits of juicing oranges peel and all at home.

However, commercially produced orange juice is often fortified with extra vitamin C, calcium, and other nutrients. So while it may not contain the complete nutrition of fresh peeled oranges, fortified store-bought orange juice can still provide key vitamins and minerals.


To recap, here are some key points to help decide if you should peel oranges or not before juicing:

  • Peeling removes bitter flavors but also beneficial nutrients concentrated in the peel.
  • Leaving peels on adds fiber and nutrition at the expense of more bitterness.
  • Rolling oranges before juicing can reduce bitterness from the peel.
  • Consider your juicer – centrifugal models may work better for peeled oranges.
  • Citrus presses are ideal for juicing oranges peel and all.
  • Store-bought OJ won’t have the same nutrition as juicing oranges unpeeled.

In the end, whether or not to peel oranges comes down to personal preference. If you don’t mind a little extra bitter flavor, juicing them unpeeled provides more nutrition. But if you prefer juice that is milder and smoother, peeling the oranges first may be better. Try both methods to see what works for your palate and juicing needs!

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