Like the old saying, "There’s more than one way to skin a cat," there’s certainly more than one way to peel an orange. The method you will use depends entirely on personal preference, available tools, and what you will be using the orange for (snacking, orange slices for a pee wee soccer game, fruit salad, crepe suzette, etc.). If you’re at the office or on the go, your best tools are probably your hands. Make sure your hands and the orange have been cleaned and have a napkin handy for any juice. Start by making a depression with your thumb by the stem at the top of the orange to loosen the peel. Pull the skin down in long strips and your orange will be ready to eat.
While orange segments can be added to dishes using the hand peeling method above, it is sometimes more palatable to remove the pith, the white, slightly bitter part of the orange between the peel and the fruit as well as the fibrous membrane material that separates the segments. To do this, you will need a cutting board (preferably one with a rim around the side to catch any juices) and a sharp paring or serrated knife.
Start by trimming off the top and bottom of the orange. You’ll want to trim enough off that the flesh of the orange is exposed. Once you have done this, stabilize the orange on one of the flat ends and carefully run the knife along the curve of the fruit from the top of the orange to the bottom, slicing off the peel in strips. You will want to ensure that all of the white pith is removed and just the flesh of the fruit is left when you are done.
When all of the skin and pith have been removed, you can segment the orange by running the knife along the fibrous membrane that separates each orange segment. The fruit will be quite delicate without the skin so this will take a steady hand and some patience. The segments will be excellent to use in salads, desserts, or other dishes that would benefit from a citrus kick. This method works for grapefruits as well.
If you would like to create orange slices with the skin on, you’re going to be simply slicing the orange and not peeling it at all. This method of orange wedge slicing is designed so that the fibrous material between orange segments is shorter and more palatable. If you imagine the orange as a globe, you’re going to be slicing the fruit in half along the ‘hemisphere’ between the stem end and bottom end. You will be able to tell if you have done this correctly if the orange segments in each half look like the slices of a pie. Next stabilize each half on the cutting board with the flat side down. Cut each half of the orange into halves and then quarters. Leaving the peel on the orange wedges will make them more portable and the peel can be used to keep your fingers from getting sticky while eating.