The most important etiquette rules on how to serve and eat oranges. Tips to be the ideal host or the perfect guest.
What orange etiquette is
Orange etiquette is the set of rules to properly serve and eat oranges. Such rules help avoid behaviors that can disrespect hosts or guests, or make you look unpolite.
If you are hosting, follow oranges’ etiquette to serve them to your guests appropriately.
If you are a guest, respect oranges’ etiquette rules to properly eat and enjoy them.
What you should know about oranges
Orange is a citrus fruit. Many varieties of orange exist. The most popular ones are Navel and Valencia oranges.
In general, oranges are round in shape, with a thick orange-colored rind. Their texture is juicy. Oranges are sweet in taste, with a slightly sour note.
- Navel oranges are seedless with a thin rind. They are a particularly sweet variety.
- Valencia oranges have few pips and are one of the best for juice.
- Sevilla oranges are famous for their bitter taste.
- Blood oranges have red flesh and are known for their aroma.
Etiquette tips to serve and eat oranges
1) How to store oranges
You can keep whole oranges out of the fridge. Place them in a fruit bowl. Away from sources of heat or direct light. They can last for 5 to 7 days.
When you store whole oranges in the fridge, they may last for 2 to 3 weeks.
You can store cut oranges for about 2-3 days. Place them in the fridge, in a sealed container, or wrapped in plastic.
Oranges can be stored in the freezer too. They can last for about 6 months.
2) How to clean oranges
Wash oranges under cold running water before you prepare them. Even if you just use them to squeeze the juice, it is best to wash them first.
3) How to prepare & cook oranges
Oranges are a common ingredient for savory and sweet dishes. Add them to salads, roasts, or cured meat. They can go well in fish or seafood recipes. Or enhance the aroma of a dessert.
Use oranges to make jams, sauces, or sangria.
When you serve oranges as fruit after a meal or as a snack, serve them whole. Peel and slice oranges if you use them in a salad, fruit salad, or dessert.
If you serve orange juice, squeeze the oranges in the kitchen. Do not squeeze them in front of your guests.
4) How to serve & present oranges
Serve oranges for breakfast, a snack, or in the fruit course after a meal.
When you serve oranges whole, present them in a fruit bowl. If oranges are in a fruit salad, present them in a serving bowl, or in individual small fruit plates or cups.
One or two orange slices can be a decoration on a plate. Wedges are uncommon.
Serve orange juice in a jug. Then, guests can help themselves.
5) Foods and beverages to serve oranges with
Oranges pair well with cured meat and roast poultry. You can pair oranges with fresh dairy products, such as cottage cheese, ricotta, or yogurt. Avoid seasoned or strong cheese.
Oranges go well with other fruits and nuts. Banana, berries, cherry, pineapple, grapes, almonds, and walnuts. They are also common in desserts and pair well with dark chocolate.
Acidic white wines pair best with the orange flavor. Sauvignon Blanc, Pinot Grigio, Chablis, and Riesling.
6) How to eat oranges
At the dining table, you should peel oranges with a knife. Peeling an orange with your hands is against etiquette.
Peel it whole, or cut it into four sections before peeling it. Try your best to avoid spraying the other guests. Eat one wedge at a time.
If the skin is too hard, cut the orange in half and eat it with a small spoon.
Spit the pips in your hand. While you do it, cover your mouth with the other hand. Avoid making noise, facial expressions, or moving your head. Put the pips close together on one side of your plate. Do not fiddle with pips in your mouth or on the plate.
Orange etiquette: the worst mistakes
The Rude Index identifies and ranks negative behaviors.
A high score (8-10) means that the behavior has the potential to trigger a conflict with others. A medium score (4-7) means that the behavior risks making you look inelegant and unsophisticated. More about the Rude Index and its methodology here.
Avoid the worst orange etiquette mistakes.
- 9/10. Spitting seeds in a visible way.
- 8/10. Serving spoiled or overripe oranges.
- 8/10. Spraying others while peeling an orange.
- 7/10. Serving unripe oranges.
- 6/10. Eating more than one wedge at a time.
Additional information for properly serving oranges
How many calories per serving?
Counting calories is important to stay healthy and to correctly plan a menu.
Oranges contain about 47 calories per 100 grams. On average, an orange contains between 45 and 62 calories.
How to buy the best oranges
A crucial factor in orange etiquette is to serve the best product possible to your guests.
Season and availability
Oranges are available all year round as they grow in many regions.
The season for Navel oranges is in winter, between November and March. The seasons for Valencia oranges are Spring and Summer.
Choose the best
Ripe oranges are bright orange in color. They should feel firm and without soft spots. They should feel heavier than they look.
Alternatives to oranges
The best substitutes for oranges are similar citrus fruits. Tangerines and clementines are the most popular ones.
Lemon or lime are valid substitutes for their juice.
Can I eat an orange directly from the peel? No. Do not eat oranges directly from the peel. You risk dripping juice and making a mess. It may not be a pleasant sight for other guests. Remove the peel, then eat one wedge at a time.
Can I eat an orange without peeling it? To eat an orange without peeling it, cut it in half. Then, use a spoon to eat it.