Oranges are grown all over the world, thriving in subtropical climates. One medium orange contains over 100 percent of the daily recommended serving of Vitamin C. Vitamin C supports the immune system and aids in metabolism. Unlike many fruits that continue to ripen after they have been harvested, an orange will not mature beyond the point it has reached when picked. Under-ripe oranges are bitter tasting and dry. There are several methods to help you determine if the fruit is ready to be picked so you receive the highest quality fruit.
Inspect the orange. A ripe orange will have a smooth, bright orange-colored skin. The skin of Valencia oranges, one of the most widely grown varieties, may exhibit a slightly green tint during the warmer spring harvest months.
Squeeze the orange gently. Be careful not to bruise the skin as this will damage the underlying fruit. A ripe orange will have a thin skin and feel firm and heavy in your hand. A heavy fruit indicates a high juice content. Avoid oranges that feel spongy or contain soft spots.
Smell the orange. A ripe orange will have a crisp, sweet citrus scent.
Taste the orange. According to Ed Perry, farm adviser at the University of California-Davis, taste is one of the most reliable indicators of ripeness. A ripe orange should have an intense, clean citrus flavor. Avoid oranges that taste overly bitter.