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March 15, 2013

Blood Orange Basics

Even if you’ve never tasted one, you’re most likely familiar with their misleadingly gruesome name.

While they have been popular for centuries in Italy, blood oranges are relatively new to the United States and can be found in supermarkets from November to May. In California, the Moro variety is popular, which ripens earlier than the older Italian native Tarocco or the Spanish Sanguinello.

They’re usually smaller than oranges and cool winter nights sometimes give their skin a beautiful red blush. (If there’s no blush they can still be ripe, but make sure the orange is plump and heavy for its size.)

When you cut them open, their flesh is a deep ruby red and they taste sweeter than a regular orange but with a tangy raspberry quality that makes them addictive.

I love adding them to salads and recommend my Fennel and Blood Orange Salad for an easy, fresh late winter feast.

The wonderful red color is due to the presence of anthocyanins in the pulp and rind–the same antioxidants  that give cherries and blueberries their enticing colors.

Store your oranges at room temperature for several days or put them in a sealed container or bag in the crisper drawer of your refrigerator to keep them for a couple weeks.

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