Oranges are amongst the most commonly purchased fruits throughout the western hemisphere. Like most organic produce, oranges are sometimes priced based on their weight instead of on a piece-by-piece basis, and as such it is a good idea to determine the average weight of oranges so as to not spend more than you need1.
Just like all fruits and vegetables, the vast majority of oranges’ weight is due to water within its cells. Oranges will begin to grow lighter as they age or otherwise are subjected to the effects of dehydration, which makes the weight of an orange an excellent way of telling whether an orange is still at its best quality.
On average, most oranges weigh an approximate 131grams, or 4.6 ounces. This is highly variable, however, depending on many factors such as the particular species of the orange as well as its age, the sort of conditions it was stored in, and of course the particular size the orange is.
What Is an Orange Made of?
Like all organic life forms, oranges possess a significant volume of water within their form in order to support their cells.
According to a research assay conducted and released by the U.S. Department of Agriculture, oranges are, on average, made of 87% water, or 86.8 grams per 100 grams of raw orange product2.
At such a high percentage, it is by no stretch of imagination that one would realize how little an orange weighs once dried. According to much the same research assay posted by the USDA, the remaining majority of an orange’s constituent compounds are mostly carbohydrates, with 9.35% being sugar, and 2.4% being various types of fiber.
Extrapolating from this, it can be surmised that oranges are only an average of 47 kilocalories per 100 grams eaten, though this is likely lower as most people do not eat the orange peel, of which possesses the majority of the oranges’ fiber.
Are All Orange Species the Same Weight?
As oranges come in a variety of species with broadly ranging weights and volumes, it is not unusual for one to incorporate the exact species of orange when calculating the total needed weight of orange that they need.
Smaller than the typical commercially available orange, the Californian Valencia oranges are on average only as heavy as 121 grams, or the same weight of an orange classified as small by several legal definitions.
If choosing to purchase Californian Valencia oranges, it is wise to account for their difference in weight as opposed to the standard commercial orange.
On the opposite end of the weight spectrum is the navel orange, which differs somewhat from the Californian Valencia orange by nature of its peel and average total size. The navel orange, generally, will weigh 140g, or approximately the same weight of a legally defined medium sized commercial orange.
Far smaller than any of these previously mentioned species, the tangerine or otherwise known as mandarin orange is amongst the smallest commercially purchasable species of orange. While the mandarin orange’s weight is just as variable as the standard commercially available orange, at its largest it is still only an approximate average of 120 grams, which equates roughly to a medium size standard orange.
It is also important to keep in mind the total flesh volume of each species, as certain species like the Californian Valencia orange has a thicker and larger peel, meaning that more of its total weight is taken up by the usually-thrown-out peel instead of its edible inner flesh.
Apart from individual differences in constituent parts, it is also better to buy a single larger orange than to buy multiple smaller oranges, as the total volume of flesh to peel will still be less than if one were to purchase multiple oranges3.
How Large Can Oranges Grow to?
As oranges are grown in warm and humid climates like that of certain tropical countries, it is not unusual for them to expand to significant sizes when enough sunlight and water are available.
Clearly defined, the standard commercially available orange is placed within the large category once it has reached the weight of 184 grams. Extrapolating from the previously mentioned research assay conducted by the U.S. Department of Agriculture, this would roughly equate to 160.08 grams of the large orange’s weight consisting of water.
Knowing this, it can also be calculated that 184 grams of a large orange would be roughly equivalent to 100 kilocalories, or roughly the same calories of an apple or two kiwi fruits. This makes orange an excellent diet snack, and perfectly appropriate for any sort of diet, no matter its size.
What Fruit has a Similar Weight to Oranges?
Because of the particular constituents that make up oranges, there are a variety of fruits with a roughly equivalent weight that can act as references. However, these fruits do not possess nearly the same volume of water, and as such have a differing nutrient profile to oranges.
The closest weight approximation to a medium size orange would be a medium size apple. Owing to apples’ dense flesh, it can weigh nearly the same as an orange at the height of its quality.
Apart from apples, a similar gauge of oranges’ weight is a single medium size banana. At roughly 180 grams per unit of banana, this would equate to a standard large size commercially available orange.
Why do Oranges Weigh That Much?
As oranges are a fruit grown in tropical regions of the world, water is readily available in the form of humidity in the air as well as moisture in the soil. Plants take advantage of this readily available resource in order to grow to larger sizes than their non-tropical counterparts.
Apart from this, tropical regions with dense plant life will often have higher percentages of CO2 and oxygen present in the air. The vast majority of plants incorporate these molecules in order to catalyze and accelerate their internal cellular processes, with more CO2 and oxygen causing even more rapid growth.
1. Alisa Mala. (August 2020) “Most Popular Fruits in The World” Did You Know? – WorldAtlas.com https://www.worldatlas.com/articles/the-most-popular-fruit-in-the-world.html
2. Unknown Author. (January 2019) “Oranges, raw, all commercial varieties” U.S. Department of Agriculture FoodData Central Search Results
3. Hanna. (N.D.) “Weight Equivalents: Oranges” hannaone.com