Friday, February 27, 2009

Blood oranges


Blood oranges are in the market now. These oranges, a little smaller than the typical orange, have a tinge of rosy blush on the skin. When you cut them open, the flesh is crimson, or sometimes mottled with deep red. The color is from the pigment anthocyanin, the same pigment that give blackberries, cherries, and purple grapes their deep, finger-staining color.

Blood oranges were originally cultivated in Spain and Italy. The three best known varieties are the Moro, the Tarocco, and the Sanguinello. The Moro variety was discovered in Sicily around the beginning of the 19th century. The Tarocco is said to be the best selling orange variety in Italy. The Sangiunello was discovered in Spain in 1929. There are dozens of other varieties, but these three are the most commonly grown types found in the U.S.

The season for blood oranges is November through May. Some varieties are earlier, some later. I started seeing blood oranges in my market around the beginning of February. Even though they are a bit of an extravagance, I like them so much I get them while they're available.


The flavor is a little bit different than a regular orange. It's tart, but with a berry-like sweetness. I usually juice a couple of Valencia oranges along with my blood oranges for my breakfast juice, to stretch my supply. The resulting juice is such a pretty color, it's a cheerful way to start the day.

Blood orange juice is also pretty enough to make a nice cocktail when you come home after a hard day.

Cheers!

Blood oranges can be easily grown in Southern California, and it's only pure laziness that prevents me from going to a nursery and bringing home a tree of my own, to grow in a pot. Maybe I'll change that, this weekend - so I can enjoy my own blood oranges next year.

11 comments:

mo.stoneskin said...

Pure laziness didn't prevent you from taking the photos though...

Mmm, while a cocktail would be nice, I really fancy a beer.

Beverly said...

I love blood oranges, and I would like a glass of that juice. How long will it take me to get there?

;-)

Csquaredplus3 said...

The cocktail is so pretty! What a great idea!

phd in yogurtry said...

Ooh, delicioso! Do they taste any different? This reminds me of the ruby red grapefruit, of which I have two sitting in my fruit bowl. I don't know that I've seen blood oranges at the markets down here.

Cheri @ Blog This Mom! said...

I LOVE blood orange juice.

Good idea mixing it with Valencia to stretch it, yo.

Life with Kaishon said...

Wow. They are pretty. Both of your glasses look yummy. Your breakfast drink and your after-work drink! I have never had one. I will get some soon. Kaish and Gary love oranges.

cactus petunia said...

Mmmm. That cocktail looks good. And a Screwdriver made with fresh blood orange juice? What a way to start the day!

Jason, as himself said...

I love blood oranges; we had a small blood orange tree in our last house. It's surprising how many people have never heard of them.

That drink looks beeeuuuutiful!

JCK said...

Now...do you have a recipe for this delicious looking cocktail?

jenny said...

My family and I were fortunate enough to get to tour and sample the Citrus Variety Heritage Collection at UCR while I was in training to be a UC Master Gardener. My daughter got hooked on Blood Oranges that day, we were able to take home a whole brown grocery bag full for free! While I've got about 5 navel trees and neighbors grove of about 50, I don't have a Blood Orange Tree. My parents do so we're lucky to bum some off of them, good idea to plant one of your own! You asked where I'm at, Riverside, in the Greenbelt.

I am a Tornado ~ proven fact! said...

I'll have to take a drive out to the Whole Foods to see if they carry those...my local grocery store NEVER has them.

Citrus is what I love most about California.