Slicing open an orange to reveal its bloody flesh is a pleasure reserved for the cold, dark wet months of January and early February, in the UK anyway. The arrival of the blood oranges from the groves dotted around the Mediterranean and increasingly Florida and California sparks a flurry of cooks washing out their jam pans, boiling carefully kept jars and buying so much sugar from the shop. Yes, it’s marmalade time, again although many of us are looking for new innovative ways of using the blood oranges, making use of its tartness and vivid red and orange colours. With hints of raspberry and high vitamin content oranges brighten up salads, desserts and fruit juices.
Blood oranges is a variety of orange with crimson, almost blood-coloured flesh. Similar in size to the average orange (not the tasteless, pumped-up fruits found out of season and on supermarket shelves), this variety comes with a pitted, sometimes smooth skin.
Their sweet, tangy flavour is popular with cooks and chefs seeking to add complexity to cakes, cocktails or perhaps roast duck.
As Saveur magazine wrote, the blood orange will ‘elevate a familiar dish by substituting blood oranges for regular navels in recipes like orange fennel osso buco, roasted cranberry sauce, or orange scented olive oil cake. However you slice it, the blood orange is sure to become the highlight of your winter fruit bowl’.
American home-making legend Martha Stewart offers a recipe for Blood Orange and Pomelo Marmalade creating a delicious deep red, bittersweet marmalade.
Another Martha recipe pairs the fruit to create an Orange-Scented Olive-Oil Cake with Orange Compote and Ganache, making use of the oranges’ complex flavours.
For those of us with a sweet tooth bon appétit has a great recipe for ‘Orange-Scented Bittersweet Chocolate Cake with Candied Blood Orange Compote’. It has a retro feel to the dark chocolate brown of the cake paired with the deep crimson of the candied compote.
Over at Buzzfeed, they have listed 21 ‘bloody delicious’ recipes including scones, pomegranate margaritas and ‘Blood Orange Roasted Chicken’ from www.goborrot.com. While the recipes are often written to appeal to the ingredients popular in American and for its peoples’ palate such as maple syrup.
An intriguing recipe comes from matt.bites.com for ‘Blood Orange Caramels with Toasted Almonds and Sea Salt’. Again with a US-flavour, cut and wrap these treats in a grease-proof paper, place in a Kilner jar with home made label for a surprise gift for the sweet-toothed person in your life.
Here’s a colourful plate using green kale and purple beetroot to offset the bright crimson of the blood orange, while packing a healthy punch. This ‘Pan-fried Mackeral with Kale, Beetroot and Blood Orange Salad’ was originally published in Sainsbury’s Magazine.