Although there are plenty of different types of oranges, they're best described as either sweet or bitter.
Their refreshing flavour makes them a natural partner with rich meats, and their juicy texture goes down a treat in salads. The list of orange-scented cakes and puds is endless...
Oranges were originally used for their perfumed skin rather than for the taste. The zest contains aromatic oils - a great bonus for enhancing natural orange flavour in dishes. It's worth remembering that the oils are located only in the outer zest, so if you're grating an orange, stop short of using the pith as it's pretty bitter.
The pith, despite its bitter quality, is invaluable when making marmalade - as it contains pectin, which helps give a firm set.
TOP ORANGE VARIETIES
BLOOD ORANGES The most prized of sweet varieties, blood oranges are noted for their red flesh and sweet flavour. Sanguinello is perhaps the best known variety and makes superb juice. It's mainly grown in Italy and across the Mediterranean.
NAVEL ORANGES There's a miniature orange, embedded in the top of these distinctive oranges - hence their unusual name! Because they're seedless, these oranges are great for segmenting and using in salads.
NAVELINA ORANGES Originally grown in California, the best-known ones are from the Valencia region of Spain. They're noted for their juicy, sweet flavour, and can be identified by their reddish, easy to peel skin.
SEVILLE ORANGES Too tart to eat on their own, Seville oranges are perfect for turning into marmalade. They have a short season, from late December through to mid-February, but can be frozen and used later in the year.
IN THE KITCHEN
Oranges make a great and possibly surprising addition to crunchy salads and work particularly well with fresh mint, crisp cabbage and crunchy walnuts.
Because of their refreshing taste, they're often used to contrast the rich flavour of meats, especially game.