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How to Segment an Orange

How to Segment an Orange

Learn how the pros quickly and easily segment citrus fruits

Aurelie Jouan

There are two easy methods for removing the segments from citrus fruit; use whichever you find easier.

There are a number of ways to use segmented citrus fruit; the brightly colored segments are wonderful in salads, stir-frys, and on top of desserts. Here’s how to segment an orange:

First trim both ends of the orange, creating a flat, stable cutting surface.

Then, remove the orange peel and pith by running the blade of your chef’s knife along the contour of the orange. Be sure to remove all of the white pith; if you don’t, it will be difficult to remove the individual segments from the fruit.

Then, hold the blade of your knife parallel to the membrane that separates two sections of the orange. Slice into the orange as close to the membrane as possible; stop when you reach the center of the fruit.

Then, without removing your knife, turn it and slice along the other side of the segment, as close to the membrane as possible, carefully removing the segment. If this technique is too difficult, remove the knife from the orange after slicing along one side of the segment and simply slice into the orange (as close to the membrane as possible) along the other side of the segment, again, carefully removing the segment.

Kristie Collado is The Daily Meal’s Cook Editor. Follow her on Twitter @KColladoCook.

The Best Way to Segment Oranges, Grapefruits, and Other Citrus Fruits

Have you ever ordered a parfait at brunch and instantly noticed the clean-cut citrus slices didn&apost have any white membranes? Mhm. The chef probably used a simple trick, which you can easily perfect at home. Segmenting citrus fruit, also known as supreming, is a French cooking technique for separating the peel and bitter pith from the delicious fruit so it can be served in slices. At first, it might seem tedious, but supreming citrus is actually quite simple once you learn the proper method. No more peeling oranges with your hands, and no more picking pith out from under your nails hours after you’ve peeled your orange.

So, why should you segment citrus fruit? Other than the fact that it looks much neater and leaves your hands less sticky, it eliminates the bitter taste that too often overpowers your citrus slices. The pith, the spongy white layer between the fruit and the peel, contains most of the citrus fruit’s bitterness, so make sure to get rid of it.

The first few times you might find yourself slicing off too much of the good stuff, but that’s normal. Once you get the hang of this technique, you’ll only cut out what’s necessary.

Grab an orange (or any other citrus fruit). Use a paring knife to slice off both ends—the stem end and flower end, if you want to get technical. Stand it upright and remove the peel cutting from top to bottom, working your way around the orange. If you still see pith after the first slice, cut a little bit deeper. If you see too much of the orange flesh, you’re cutting too deep.

Once you’ve removed all of the peel and the majority of the pith, you’re ready to cut the segments from their membranes. Just remember to hold the orange over a bowl to catch any excess juice—save and drink that in the morning. Slice the fruit along the insides of the membranes to lift each segment out. By the time you’ve worked your way around the fruit, the membranes attached to the center should resemble the leaves of an open book.

And just like that, in less than five minutes, you have perfect citrus wedges to adorn yogurt, smoothie bowls, and pavlovas.

Types of Oranges

Oranges are so good for you as they are packed with nutrients such as Vitamin C. There are many types of oranges, here are some of the more common ones that you might see at your local grocery store.

Valencia Orange: A sweet and low acidity orange from Southern California, these oranges are harvested in the summer. They are in season from March to July. They are commonly used for juicing on top of eating.

Navel Orange: Getting its name from the base looking similar to a belly button, they are often seedless with thicker skin. They are also quite sweet and are in season from November to June.

Cara Cara Orange: This orange is a part of the navel orange family but is pink on the inside. They&rsquore extremely sweet and have a hint of berry flavor to them. The Cara Cara oranges are in season from December to April.

Blood Orange: Blood oranges are sweet but not as sweet as Cara Cara Oranges. They have some tang to them. The inside of the blood orange is crimson in color. Blood oranges are in season from December to May.

Clementine: Clementines are very small, very sweet, seedless, and the perfect snack size. They are in season from October to January.

How to supreme an orange

Orange slices make a delicious addition to salads, fruit compotes and even to baked goods, but the membrane that makes oranges easy to peel and section by hand can make a tough addition to any of these sweet dishes. Generally, the best way to prepare an orange to go into a dish is to supreme it. Supreming an orange, sometimes described as sectioning an orange, is when you cut an orange (or other citrus fruit) down to its most tender and jewel-like segments. It is easy to do and all you need to get started is a very sharp paring knife.

Start by removing about 1/2 inch from the top and bottom of your orange. You want to reveal the fruit beneath the peel and you don’t want to cut away too much of the fruit, so the exact size of your rounds will vary based on the size of your fruit.

Working carefully, cut away all of the peel and pith from the fruit.

Note the thin, white membranes that divide up the orange. They should be easy to see once the peel has been completely removed from the fruit (I used a blood orange for this demo). Insert your knife as close to that membrane as possible and make a slice parallel to it, right to the center of the orange. Find the membrane on the other side of that orange section and make another slice down to the center of the orange. You should be left with a tender, juicy orange segment. A sharp knife makes this process go much more quickly and results in much cleaner slices.

Continue supreming the orange, slicing on either side of each and every membrane on the orange. Use the segments in fruit salads or anything else you can think of. Don’t worry if you get a bit of membrane here and there on one of the slices. I left a bit on the slice below to show the difference between a membrane-free segment and one with membrane still attached. You can always trim that off later, and the more you practice, the quicker and better you’ll be at supreming oranges.

Fresh Approach Cooking

supreme v. to remove the skin, pith, membranes, and seeds of a citrus fruit and separate its wedges. Also as noun, a wedge of citrus fruit.

I forget where I was, but I know the Ombudsman was there too, so chances are my forgetfulness can be blamed on the drink. I’m almost certain of it.

So this is how it started.

Someone asked me how to segment an orange.

I corrected them by saying its not segmenting, its supreming. To segment just means to peel and pull apart.

To supreme, well, see above.

And we went through it together. But without pictures, and with the addition of inebriation. Oh, and did I mention all of this was happening on a teeny-tiny orange while I was wielding a 12 inch (that’s right kids. I said 12 inch) chefs knife? Needless to say, it ended sorta almost before it began.

Alrighty then, here you go! How to supreme an orange:

Begin by choosing an orange, grapefruit or any other segmented fruit (your other choices elude me currently. Oh yes, lemons and limes.) this also is a great way to cut up melons.

Using a small paring knife, slice off the top and bottom, to just expose the pulp.

Start at the top, just where the pith (white part) meets the pulp and slice off the skin, following the curve of the fruit.

When you are done removing the peel, slice out each segment by cutting in towards the center of the fruit along the membranes/walls. Remove the now supremed segments.

VOILA! That's all there is to it!

And tomorrow my sweets, I will share a recipe that actually makes use of this silly technique.

Wanna know the best time to slurp your noodles and when that might not be a good thing? Check out this site. Don't Gross Out The World.

The origin of the grapefruit poses a bit of a botanical mystery. Its appearance and flavor indicate that it's a hybrid between a large, sour citrus fruit called the shaddock (Citrus maxima) and the sweet orange (Citrus sinensis). - Hungry

Important skill to master. I prefer blood oranges when available but valencia are fine. The pictures make me crazy - they're so good!

Working over a bowl, hold the peeled and pith-less orange in your non-dominant hand and, using your knife, carefully cut along the membranes (the core of the orange) to slice out each segment (aka "supreme"). Let the segment fall into the bowl. Continue rotating the fruit and cutting out the supremes, until you’ve separated all of the membranes from the citrus supremes. Use your utility knife to remove any seeds that might still be attached once you remove the membranes. And don't forget to squeeze that orange core once you've removed the segments—there's plenty of tasty juice in there!

Now that you're an orange-cutting pro, here's how to use the fruits of your labor:

Orange recipes

From the blood oranges of Sicily to the fragrant bergamot grown in Calabria, Italy is well known for its oranges and other citrus fruits. Juice, zest and flesh can all be used to add a sweet, juicy tang to both sweet and savoury dishes and the orange blossom, too, is often used in perfumes and oils. This collection of orange recipes demonstrates the sheer culinary versatility of this vibrant citrus fruit.

Orange pairs well with duck and game, with the fruit's juicy flavour offsetting the sweet richness of the meat. Lorenzo Cogo pairs orange with bitter radicchio in his sophisticated duck breast recipe, while Igles Corelli uses a combination of crispy vegetables, balsamic vinegar and candied orange peel to offset his pigeon breast salad. The chef also creates a sweet orange caramel to drizzle over his Latte brulé recipe, while Andrea Sarri tops his chocolate mousse with a boozy orange sorbet.


Learn about the different varieties of oranges and how to select the best, plus top tips to prepare and cook with this citrus fruit.

One of the best-known citrus fruits, oranges aren’t necessarily orange – some varieties are yellow or dotted with red. Types fall into one of two categories – sweet or bitter.

Sweet varieties of orange include the Navel orange, which is named after the navel-like bulge at one end, which contains a tiny, baby fruit. They are seedless, easy to peel, and have a juicy, sweet flesh. Valencia have smooth, thin skins, with very few pips, and are particularly juicy. The skins of blood oranges are tinged with red, and the flesh ranges from golden to a deep ruby – they are juicy and aromatic.

The most well-known bitter orange is the Seville, only around for a few weeks in January. They are too sour to eat raw, but are great for marmalades or cooking with, and have a rough skin.

Find out about the health benefits of oranges with our guide.


Various types ripen at different times, so there’s year-round availability imported from outside the UK.

Choose the best

Look for unblemished, firm oranges that feel heavy for their size, as they’re likely to be juiciest. The rind should look thin and fit tightly – if it doesn’t it indicates that it might have a more than usually high level of pith.

Avoid those with any mould or soft spots. Rough, brownish patches (known as russeting) on the skin don’t necessarily affect quality.

Prepare it

To juice oranges, halve and use a lemon squeezer. For zesting, the best oranges to use are unwaxed or organic. If you can’t find either, scrub the skin well, then use a grater or zester, being careful not to grate down to the pith, which is bitter.

To pare and cut into segments, cut a little from the top and bottom of the orange and then, using a small, sharp knife, cut off the peel in a circular motion (as you would peel an apple), avoiding the flesh.

Alternatively, sit it on a board and cut in downward strokes, following the curve of the orange, working your way round until all the peel is removed. Then, holding the orange over a bowl to catch the juice, cut free each segment by slicing between the membranes to release it from the central core of pith.

Store it

Oranges keep for two weeks maximum, either at room temperature or in the fridge.

Cook it

Add segments to salads or a jug of Pimms or sangria. Use the zest and juice for baking, sauces or marinades. Use when cooking game, chicken or fish. Squeeze the juice for breakfast.

Easy Ambrosia Recipe_____

This ambrosia recipe is best served the same day but can be refrigerated up to 1 day.  Keep well covered.

Easy Ambrosia Recipe
Serves 8

6 navel oranges, peeled and cut into segments (see video below)
1 cup sweetened shredded coconut
1/4 cup confectioners sugar, or to taste
1 small bottle maraschino cherries, drained well (optional)

In a serving dish or parfait glasses, arrange orange segmentsਊnd coconut in layers, sprinkling each layer with confectioners sugar.   When ready to serve, gently toss in the cherries. 

 * Add 1 14-15.5-ounce drained can of pineapple chunks to the oranges

 * Use sliced strawberries in place of the cherries

 *  Add 1 sliced  banana just before service

 * For Dessert Whipped Topping : Add 2 tablespoons grated orange rind to 1/2 cup heavy whipping cream.  Whip cream until soft peaks form.  Gently stir in 2-3 tablespoons granulated sugar.  Top ambrosia dessert with orange cream just before service

Watch This!
Learn how to segment an orange for fresh ambrosia salad

Simple Ambrosia for a Crowd
Serves 25

Use the proportions as stated and vary fruits as desired. 

1 1/2 pounds canned mandarin oranges, drained
1 3/4 pounds canned pineapple tidbits, drained
6-ounces miniature marshmallows
3-ounces sweetened shredded coconut
6-ounces plain yogurt or low-fat sour cream

Combine fruits, marshmallows, and coconut.  Add yogurt and toss lightly to combine.

Orange-glazed sweet potatoes

The orange and the mulling spices bring out the caramel notes of sweet potato to great effect. Serve as an accompaniment to grilled meat or fish or on its own with a crisp salad and a dollop of sour cream.

Serve 4
2 medium sweet potatoes

For the glaze
A pinch of salt
200g sugar
Zest and juice of 1 orange
3 cloves
1 star anise
5cm cinnamon stick
50g butter
200ml water

1 Preheat the oven to 150C/300F/gas mark 2. Bake the sweet potatoes in their skins directly on the oven shelf for about 1 hour until they are cooked, then peel and cut in 2cm slices.

2 Put all the ingredients for the glaze in a saucepan. Simmer over a low heat, stirring constantly until the sugar has completely dissolved. Reduce the liquid until it is quite syrupy, then strain to remove the spices.

3 Add the sweet potatoes to the syrup and gently turn them over until warmed and covered in the glaze.