Monday, 8 March 2010
In brief season: blood oranges
In season around now, blood oranges are the most elusive of citrus fruits. They appear briefly for a few weeks each year with unpredictable timing.
The fruit’s name comes from its garnet flesh and scarlet juices. It derives its colour from anthocyanin, a pigment more common in red fruits and flowers. Fuji and Red Delicious Apples, for example, owe their dark red skins to the pigment.
The most popular varieties are Tarocco (grown in Sicily), Sanguinello (Spain) and Moro (US). Blood oranges have a sweet taste with a hint of summer berries. They are best enjoyed eaten alone, freshly squeezed in juices and in desserts, bearing in mind that the colour dims when baked or heated.
Alternatively, a few segments add a rosy hue to a salad of grilled tuna, chicory or fennel, finely sliced purple onion and a strong vinaigrette or serve alongside warm cooked beetroot with a sherry-inspired dressing. For a simple finale plate try slices of blood oranges with Manchego and toasted almonds.