It’s kind of crazy to think just how many fruits have changed in the last 100 years, or even just the last 50.
Gone are the day when fruits were half fruit, and the other half were seeds or stones.
These days, most fruits have at least one seedless variety and are becoming the norm in many places across the world, especially in the United States and Europe.
Take oranges, as an example. These hardy citrus fruits have also undergone this gradual, but stark transformation. Not just in seed content, but in flavor and appearance as well.
Like for example, did you know that most wild orange plants produce green fruit, not orange (to learn more about wild fruit, see our guide to wild strawberries here)? Crazy, I know!
Interesting trivia aside, oranges have also been growing seedless varieties in the past few decades, and many people wonder if that is all that is different between these fruits. Is their texture different?
What about their size, or their flavor?
We will answer all of these questions, and more, in this guide to one of the most popular fruits on the planet, and its seedless counterparts!
Are There Kinds Of Oranges That Don’t Have Seeds?
Some people might have been reading the introduction, looked at their seeded orange that they have just been chowing down on, and not even realized that there are whole varieties of oranges that don’t have seeds.
Is this true? Or is it a case of breeding and cultivating oranges that have fewer seeds, with maybe a chance of one or two not containing any?
Well, you might be surprised to learn that the answer is yes! Well, technically, anyway.
Seedless oranges do occur in nature, away from orange farms and plantations, thanks to mutations in individual orange plants and trees that cause the seeds in their orange fruit to appear differently.
However, it should be noted that many of these ‘seedless’ oranges do contain seeds, at least in some fashion. These orange cultivar seeds are usually too small to be seen by the naked eye.
So yes, technically there are seeds in seedless oranges, but in a way that you or I would be able to tell.
Seedless Orange Varieties
So, what kinds of oranges would be considered seedless oranges, exactly?
Well, Jafa oranges, named after the region in Palestine that they were originally grown in, are considered a type of seedless orange, as are navel oranges.
As you can already see from this small selection, there is quite a lot of variety here. Jafa oranges are noticeably less powerful in flavor than the navel orange.
Seeded Orange Varieties
Mandarin oranges are a famous kind of orange that is well known for having seeds in it, as are Valencia oranges, the cultivar that is predominantly grown in California.
Even here, there are stark differences. Mandarin oranges are famously quite small, especially when compared to the Valencia oranges that we also mentioned.
Seedless Vs. Seeded Orange Differences
So, with that explanation out of the way, we can start to take a look at the difference between these two kinds of oranges.
The most obvious difference between the two that most people see is the lack of seeds in some varieties.
(Again, it is worth remembering that seedless oranges do still contain seeds, just too small for the human eye to register.)
This is only an issue that will be noticeable when examined under a microscope and through testing.
However, it has been shown that seeded orange varieties, though not always, tend to be sweeter, and packed with more vitamins.
By contrast, many seedless orange varieties tend to have less nutrients in them.
Because the seedless trait is relatively rare among oranges, seedless orange cultivars tend to be noticeably more expensive to purchase from stores or grocers.
After all, with fewer seeds being made and grown, they’re going to be significantly harder to grow from seeds!
What Similarities Do They Have?
However, while there are at least a few differences between seeded and seedless oranges, they have a lot more in common than they do that separate them.
Both orange types have a massive amount of variety in themselves, from giant, rough-textured oranges such as sumo, to thick skin, like navels, or the small, juice-packed packages of mandarin oranges.
Honestly, having seeds might be the biggest difference that you’ll find between them. It’s certainly the main detail that most people will end up noticing, that’s for sure!
So, as you can see, while there are some differences between both seedless and seeded oranges, they are all still very similar to one another. They are all still oranges, after all!
In the end, which one is better is kind of an irrelevant question, and mainly comes down to personal preference.
Of course, if you’re looking for an orange-eating experience that won’t be interrupted by pesky seeds, you’re going to opt for a good seedless orange variety, like a Jafa.
However, if you love oranges that have plenty of vitamins in them, you should probably stick with seeded oranges. Especially if you’re looking to grow your little orange tree!
Frequently Asked Questions
Orange seeds are still necessary to grow new orange trees, especially if you’re trying to encourage a cultivar to grow
This largely depends on your tastes. Seedless oranges will produce a slightly more sour flavor when juiced, whereas seeded oranges will make a sweeter orange juice.
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