Innie, Outtie, Beck or Fukumoto? November 14, 2005

Oranges are oranges, right? Not so. Did you know that the Navel orange we enjoy in California from late fall to springtime has many different varieties? Growers plant Navels with names like the Thompson, the Washington, the Everhard, the Atwood, the Fischer, the Beck, the Fukumoto, the Texas, and the Brazilian Baianinha Piracicaba. (Say that three times while navel-gazing!) These different varieties are rarely pointed out to consumers but instead are lumped into the general category of the navel orange. There are differences in both taste, color, and shape of the different navel oranges.

Navel oranges in the United States were first introduced from Brazil in 1873 with the planting of 3 trees in Riverside, California. The name navel comes from a secondary fruit that is embedded in the blossom end of the navel orange. The rind of this secondary fruit shows on the exterior of the orange creating a navel like pit or depression. In California, the Washington Navel is considered the parent of most navel varieties. This orange is a large, oblong fruit with a bulging navel, think post-Thanksgiving feast outtie.

This week we have the Beck Earli navel orange for you. It is the first navel orange variety that we see. It was discovered in 1958 by a farmer named James Beck. As with many fruit trees, adaptations and variations happen as the mother tree throws of a sport, a genetic hiccup that produces a new variety of fruit from an existing tree. When these sports are found, the farmer will graft the branch and attempt to reproduce it and develop a new type.

The Beck has a refreshing, low acid flavor and has, what I think is a trademark taste of all Navels, a light hint of cinnamon and nutmeg among the citrus taste. These navels are on the small side with a little innie navel. Try smelling the rind before opening it and seeing if you can pick up the nutmeg scent. I also find that the supporting tastes come out as a nice finish after eating the orange. Share with friends!

Enjoy and be fruitful!

Nutritional Information:
Serving Size: 1 medium orange
62 calories. Calories from fat, 0.
Total Fat, Cholesterol, Sodium, 0 grams each.
Potassium, 237 milligrams; Carbohydrates, 14 grams; Fiber, 3 grams;
Protein, 1 gram; Vitamin A, 3%; Calcium, 5%; Folate, 10%;
Vitamin C, 117%; Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calories diet.
Your daily values may be higher or lower depending on
your calorie needs.

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