When I conducted the citrus taste test in November last year I was quite curious as to how the tasters would rate the Akçay Şekeri or Crescent Sweet Orange, a variety that came to the United States from Turkey. I thought that it had great flavor. It had a high sugar content — Şekeri is the Turkish word for sugar. I measured a brix or sugar content of 13.8, the highest brix of the 60 citrus varieties in the taste test, yet the fruit also had good balancing acidity. On the other hand, the fruit is small, hard to peel, and typically has a few seeds. The simple tasting survey only asked for an overall rating plus written comments, so I was curious how it would be rated since it has great flavor, but also some unfavorable characteristics.
Tasters rated fruit on a numerical scale as follows: 9 = have never had better, 8 = excellent, outstanding, 7 = very good, 6 = good, above average, 5 = acceptable, average, 4 = below average, 3 = mediocre, barely worthwhile, 2 = poor, not suitable for fresh use, 1= atrocious, never had worse.
Flavor vs. Convenience
I am most interested in flavor and I do not mind a few seeds. To taste fruit rather than membrane, I prefer citrus sliced rather than peeled and sectioned, so I do not mind if a piece of fruit is hard to peel. My overall rating for Akçay Şekeri was “excellent, outstanding”. I thought that the average numerical score for this fruit would be an indication of the weight the other tasters were giving to flavor rather than other characteristics.
Taste Test Results
The average taste score for Akçay Şekeri was 6.9, putting it in a three-way tie for second place for overall rating. There were two scores of “have never had better” and many scores of “excellent, outstanding”. Based upon this result, the tasters were clearly making flavor a top consideration. Akçay Şekeri was a favorite.
Here are some of the comments submitted by tasters:
- Rich flavor that lingers, nice and sweet with a strong sour cut. Mildly seedy. Unique, strong, well-rounded taste.
- Complex. Not just sweet — lemony.
- Tarty but not too much.
- Very juicy. Thin skin sticks. Light yellow.
- Great flavor. Pretty fleshy. Liked it a lot.
- Tasty, juicy, just the right amount of tart.
- Yum! A quality, flavorful orange.
- Tart, juicy, underlying sweetness. Hard to eat from the rind.
- Delicious taste, but small and cannot peel. Excellent for juicing if it wasn't that small.
- Good all around.
The fruit were so small that I had many left over. I juiced them and the juice was some of the best orange juice that I have ever had.