The Valencia orange has very thin skin. It is a tremendously juicy orange, making it extremely useful and popular with orange juice producers. Half the oranges grown in Florida alone are Valencia, and it is the most produced orange in America. Australia and Brazil both produce orange juice from Valencias.
The oranges, about 3 inches (7.5 cm) wide, are seedless for the most part in the US, though a seeded variety is also grown in Australia and Brazil.
The tree can produce two crops a year. The tree flowers, and then as the fruit is maturing later on, the tree starts flowering again already.
Growers can leave Valencias on the tree until needed, as storage on the tree actually improves the taste. The skin may go green again a bit in places, but this doesn't matter if the crop is destined to be processed for juice. The Valencia can be stored on the tree for up to 6 months, but some people recommend that 2 months storage is optimal for juice quality.
When buying Valencias, if you see a bit of green on the peel, it doesn't mean they aren't ripe; it means in fact they have been stored on the tree, and that the taste will in fact be fully developed and excellent. The fruit will still be orange inside.
Store at room temperature or in refrigerator for up to two weeks.
Despite its name, the Valencia didn't originate in Spain. It was discovered by the Portuguese in the Portuguese Azores (the orange wouldn't have been native to the Azores, someone would have done plantings there over the years.) It was imported to Florida in 1870, and gained popularity in Australia in 1880. The seedless variety was discovered as a "bud sport" in North Richmond, New South Wales, Australia, in the early 1920's.
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