Photo by Hillary Ehlen
During the winter months, chefs and bartenders get the opportunity to experiment with interesting citrus — meyer lemons, kumquats, clementines and mandarins to name a few. Even ruby grapefruit takes on a deeper red color and intense flavor that is lacking the rest of the year. Blood oranges are available for a relatively short period of time so culinary professionals waste no time in putting them to use.
Blood oranges are like many other citrus in that their color and flavor vary greatly depending on the time of year and of course the growing conditions at hand. Early season blood oranges tend to have a lighter red colored flesh while their later season counterparts are typically a deep red. A more intense flavor profile tends to accompany the improved color.
Blood oranges are a naturally occurring fruit, not a hybrid. They are richer in vitamins than most oranges and provide an increased level of antioxidants. They typically taste sweeter and contain less acidity. Nutrition and taste aside, blood oranges are just straight up beautiful and delicious.
I’d recommend adding blood oranges to a breakfast fruit platter, juicing them for mimosas, making a citrus salsa or simply eating like any other orange. Just remember to not eat a blood orange while wearing a nice white shirt. Blood orange juice can leave some stains.
When I moved to Fargo-Moorhead I couldn’t find a blood orange anywhere. I still don’t see them often but luckily, they are carried by area grocers on and off throughout the winter months. If you still haven’t tried blood oranges I would certainly suggest you do. You only have a couple of months left.
BLOOD ORANGE SALSA
MAKES APPROX. 2 CUPS
4 ea. Blood Oranges, segmented
1/8 cup Red Onions, diced
1 Tbsp. Fresh Cilantro, chopped
1 Tbsp. Fresh Lime Juice
1 tsp. Fresh Jalapeno, finely minced
To Taste Extra Virgin Olive Oil
To Taste Kosher Salt & Fresh Ground Black Pepper
Combine all ingredients in a bowl and season with salt, pepper and olive oil to taste.
Allow salsa to sit for approximately 20 minutes and serve with your favorite fish, chicken breast or pork tenderloin. Garnish with shaved fennel.