Lesser-Known Texas Citrus Varieties
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While those familiar with the greatest gems of the Texas citrus lineup may be able to name several varieties grown in the state, those produced in the Rio Grande Valley, in particular , there are many varieties that, for one reason or another, are not as well-known.
Whether it's because these varieties are produced in small numbers or because conditions are less amenable to growing them, some oranges and grapefruits grown in the state are less-celebrated than others. Knowing what these Texas citrus varieties are, of course, means you can keep a look out for them.
If you already know that most of the grapefruits coming out of Texas are Rio Reds, you may also know how difficult it can be to come across another variety. The Star Ruby, of course, was a Texas citrus variety widely grown in the state until the 1980s, but it has been all but completely replaced by the Rio Red. If you do manage to get your hands on Star Ruby, you'll surely enjoy it's deep red pulp and low acidity.
As for oranges, the Parson Brown variety isn't grown in as great numbers as many Navel oranges or the late-season Valencias, but it's a sweet, early-season Texas citrus fruit that may mature as early as the end of September. It makes for a good, sweet snack. If you can find one, a Hamlin orange will also make a good snack, and it's seedless.
For some lesser-known mid-season oranges, keep an eye out for the Jaffa and Joppa varieties. Both are seedless and sweet, but are not as common as some other mid-season Texas citrus varieties. The Pineapple orange is another type that matures toward the end of November (mid-season) and is less commonly-encountered than other oranges.
On the other hand, if it's tangerines you're after, nearly everyone has heard of the Clementine, a favorite during the holiday season. A Dancy tangerine, however, is probably a new variety for most people. Any tangerine fan will surely love the Dancy as it offers the loose skin and sweet flavor characteristic of Mandarin oranges.
Any of these Texas citrus varieties are worth a try for those who manage to find them. Even though they may not be as readily available as other oranges and grapefruits produced in the Rio Grande Valley, it's still worth picking one up since you never know when you will find a new favorite. It's the diversity of fruit varieties, after all, that make Texas citrus offerings so exciting.