FAQ About Florida Citrus

By: VISIT FLORIDA staff

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How do you pick the best citrus fruits? What's the difference between white and pink grapefruit? Here's everything you ever wanted to know about Florida citrus, including important health information.

Where is citrus grown in Florida?
Much of the citrus is grown in the southern two-thirds of the Florida peninsula, where there is low probability for a freeze. After a series of freezes in the 1980s, citrus growers gradually migrated southward from central and northern regions, although Polk County in the central part of the state remains the top citrus producing county.


When is Florida citrus in season?

Florida oranges are plentiful from October through June, although the largest quantities are available from December through May. Fresh Florida grapefruit is shipped from September through June, with the height of the harvest occurring in February. Tangerines, tangelos, and temple oranges are available from October to March depending on the variety. 

What is the proper way to store fresh Florida citrus?
Florida citrus is not picked until it has reached maturity, nor does it ripen further after picking. Florida citrus always reaches your local supermarket ripe and ready to eat. All Florida citrus should be stored in the crisper of your refrigerator where it will keep at top quality in flavor and nutrition for up to three weeks. Citrus can be stored unrefrigerated in a cool, dry place for four to five days.

What should I look for when selecting the best Florida citrus?
When selecting Florida citrus at the supermarket, remember the saying "never judge a book by its cover." No matter how it looks on the outside, you can count on Florida citrus being flavorful and juicy on the inside. Even when Florida citrus isn't bright orange on the outside, the fruit on the inside is still deliciously ripe. The color of the peel (ranging from orange or yellow-orange to greenish-yellow) is simply due to Florida's subtropical climate. Small blemishes on the skin, called wind-scars, result from the fruit rubbing against the tree's branches, and do not affect the taste.

How much juice or fruit will a medium-sized Florida orange yield?
Medium oranges are ideal for wedging and juicing. Three or four medium oranges will yield 8 ounces of juice. Two medium oranges will yield one cup of bite-size pieces.

How much juice or fruit will a medium-sized Florida grapefruit yield?
One medium grapefruit will yield 8 ounces of juice and three cups of bite-size pieces.

What is the difference between white and pink grapefruit?
All grapefruit have a similar tangy-sweet flavor and are very juicy. Florida grapefruit varieties may be divided into two groups -- white and pigmented. Pigmented varieties derive their color from the pigment lycopene, which has antioxidant properties; some studies suggest lycopene may help in the fight against certain cancers.

Where can I find information on growing citrus in my backyard?
County Cooperative Extension Service (CES) offices are a valuable resource for information on growing citrus. Every county in every state has one. Your CES will also help identify problems with existing citrus trees or fruit. For a list of Florida Cooperative Extension Service offices, please click here.

I would like information on Florida citrus for children. Where can I go?
Florida Department of Citrus has compiled useful, interactive information for parents and teachers to share with children. Find more information here.  

How can I get answers to other questions about citrus?
Please send your inquiry to info@citrus.state.fl.us

Content courtesy of Florida Department of Citrus - www.floridajuice.com

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