The Blood Orange
This is one fruit your kids will love, not just because it is sweet and juicy, but rather because of its fascinating and gory name. “Eeewww,” is one of the responses overheard at the farmers’ market when a child finds out its name. But once Mom gets the kids to try it, they want more!
Blood oranges are one of those citrus treats that come around once a year in California, available from December through March and sometimes April. This variety of citrus is smaller than a navel orange, thicker skinned, and usually has a reddish blush to the peel. The pulp can vary from medium pink to the deepest red or maroon – therefore the name of the orange. Pulp can also be lined or streaked with red instead of fully blood colored, depending on the season and when they were harvested.
The two most popular varieties are the dark-fleshed Moro and the delicately flavored Tarocco. They tend to have a flavor of deep orange mixed with raspberry, a lovely combination that works well with salads, seafood, in vinaigrettes and marinades, and even desserts.
Lone Oak Ranch from Reedley has fantastic organic blood oranges. Or stop by Diaz Farms from Fowler or Aoyama Farms of Stockton for some of the best blood oranges around!
As with all citrus, look for blood oranges that are heavy for their size. Choose blood oranges with darker, redder skins. This way, you are more likely to get an orange with a deep red color inside.
Here are some tasty ways to use blood oranges:
- Salads: Toss blood orange sections and cooked red beets with winter greens, red onion, and a Dijon vinaigrette.
- Sangria: Mix your favorite fruity red wine with blood orange juice, apple juice, a bit of real sugar, and slices of lemons, limes, blood oranges, and strawberries. Chill.
- Marmalade: Get out the canning jars and make some blood orange marmalade.
- Muffins/Quick Bread: Take your favorite spiced orange muffin or quick bread recipe and replace regular orange juice with blood orange juice. It adds a nice sweetness. Don't forget to include some orange peel.
- Holiday Cocktails: This time of year, blood oranges can add holiday color to your average alcoholic beverage.
Note: Cara cara oranges are a nice rich pink inside but are not related to the blood orange. They are a cross between the Washington navel and the Brazilian Bahia navel.