Jan 28, 2019
If you haven't had a blood orange, you are really missing out. Every winter I am asked if the blood oranges are seen at the farmers' market yet. If you are an avid farmers' market shopper, then you might be one of those individuals eagerly awaiting their arrival. Oranges are one of the most special fruits. They give us a taste of summer sunshine during our darkest months. Blood oranges turn up that level of enjoyment to 11.
You can juice it for an exciting reddish color and spectacular taste. The juice of the orange is red due to anthocyanin, a pigment which widely found in the plant kingdom and can appear red as in cherries and red cabbage to blue in blueberries and cornflowers or even purple as in pansies and eggplants. Anthocyanin is reported to have many health benefits as it a powerful antioxidant that can slow or prevent the growth of cancer cells and even kill them. Moreover, blood oranges are highly concentrated in Vitamin C, potassium, Vitamin A, iron, calcium and even fiber. Oranges and their juice can also help prevent the build up of bad cholesterol as well as lower the risk of heart disease, high blood pressure, stroke and cataracts.
According NPR.com, in 1646, Jesuit scholar wrote of an orange with purple-colored flesh that tasted strangely like a grape. Curious description since a blood orange takes on so many flavor profiles and is not easily described. So where did the blood orange come from, you may ask. Blood oranges may have originated in the southern Mediterranean. The Arabs brought this sweet fruit from Sicily between the 11th and 12th century and taught the Sicilians their perfect irrigation techniques. About 500 years later, the monks planted sweeter varieties. They are now grown not only in Italy, but Texas, Florida and California as well.
The blood orange is a natural mutation of the orange and either the pomelo and the tangerine. There are three types of blood oranges. There is the Moro, which is the most colorful. It's the flavor is not as sweet as the other two varieties, Tarocco or the Sanguinello. The Tarocco is the most sweet of the varieties and the most popular in Italy. It is also the variety that is most found in the aisles of the farmers' markets locally. It has the highest amount of Vitamin C of the three varieties and is also seedless. The third variety, Sanguinello or Sanguinelli in the US was discovered in Spain in 1929. It closely resembles the Moro.
Due to the vibrant red color of the juice the blood orange makes the perfect Valentine's day ingredient.
• 1/2 cup freshly squeezed blood orange juice (strain out the pulp)
• 1 oz of bourbon
• 2-3 drops of Angostura bitters
• splash of prosecco
• orange slices & sprigs of mint, for garnish
Dash bitters into a cocktail shaker with ice. Add bourbon and blood orange juice. Stir with a spoon. Pour while straining out ice into a coupe or martini glass. Add splash of prosecco. Garnish and serve.
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