For the Love of Blood Orange

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blood or·ange

/bləd ˈôrənj



plural noun: blood oranges

  1. an orange of a variety with red or red-streaked flesh.

The distinctive dark flesh color is due to the presence of anthocyanins, a family of antioxidant pigment common to many flowers and fruit, but uncommon in citrus fruits. The flesh develops its characteristic maroon color when the fruit develops with low temperatures during the night.  In southern California the ideal months for blood oranges are between December and May.  Although availability of the varieties vary; The Moro variety is available from December through March, while the Tarocco is available from January through May.

            The 'Moro' is the most colorful of the blood oranges, with a deep red flesh and a rind with a bright red blush. The flavor is stronger and the aroma is more intense than a normal orange. This fruit has a distinct, sweet flavor with a hint of raspberry.

            The Tarocco Blood orange is a medium to large sized, sweet orange variety. The rind exhibits only the occasional light pink blush, giving no indication to the potential color of its interior. Its pulp can range from light blushes of pink to a deeper ruby red, depending on growing temperatures. The juicy flesh is nearly seedless with bright, sweet flavor and aromatics. The Tarocco Blood orange is the sweetest of all the blood orange varieties.

             Sometimes, dark coloring is seen on the exterior of the rind, as well as in the flesh, depending on the variety of blood orange. Blood oranges have a unique flavor in comparison with other oranges, being distinctly raspberry-like in addition to the citrus notes.

            One of your favorite things about blood oranges are their versatility in recipes.  These cold loving citrus friends are wonderful for tarts, salads and even in a winter cocktail.  Providing food not only with a great citrus flavor but also their eye catching coloration.

Here are a couple of recipes you can try out this season:

Winter Citrus Salad

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Serves 4

4 cups winter greens (some of our favorite are sorrel, sweet pea and arugula)

¼ cup roasted crushed pistachios

1 ripe avocado, peeled and sectioned

2 ripe blood oranges, peeled and cut into rounds

1 pomello peeled and sectioned

½ cup pistachio lime dressing

                                    2 tablespoons pistachios crushed

                                    1 clove garlic minced

                                    1 teaspoon mustard

                                    ¼ cup lime juice

                                    2 tablespoons olive oil (Nuvo if available)

                                    Salt and pepper


On each plate sprinkle a couple drops of the dressing, then lay a bed of the mixed winter greens on top.  Layer the segments of avocado and pomello with the rounds of blood orange then drizzle more dressing on top and a sprinkle of pistachio. Enjoy!

Blood Orange Tart

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Pie Crust (yields 4 9’ tart bottoms or 2 full pies with a top and bottom)

2 ½ cups flour

1 ¼ cup cold butter cut into cubes

2 tablespoons sugar

1 teaspoon salt

¼ cup ice cold water

Combine salt, sugar and flour; pinch butter into the dry mix until flakey with pea size bits of butter.  Make a well in the center and add in the water.  Slowly incorporate the water into the flour mix folding until just combine.  Wrap and place in the refrigerator for at least 1 hour. Roll out dough and put into tart pans. Par bake at 350* for 10 minutes with pie weights, remove pie weights and continue to bake for 5-10 minutes until crust is golden brown, pull and allow to cool. 

Cinnamon Custard (yields about 5 cups)

4 eggs (SZ Ranch has amazing pasture raised)

½ cup sugar

½ cup corn starch

Pinch of salt

4 cups milk (or cream if you want it to be a bit richer)

2 teaspoons cinnamon

4 tablespoons cold butter cut into 1 tablespoon sections

Whisk sugar, salt and corn starch in a bowl, crack the eggs into the mix and whisk to incorporate.  Warm the milk in a non-reactive pan, once hot but not boiling slowly pour into the egg mixture while whisking to temper the eggs.  Once combine pour the mixture back into pan and whisk continuously until thick (like a custard). Pull of the heat and add in the cold tablespoons of butter. Pour into prepped tart shells


Supreme blood oranges (quantity will depend on how may tarts and what size tarts you choose to make)

Layer the supreme blood orange in a spiral starting from the outside edge and spiraling to the center.

Optional top with nuts, honey, or brown sugar) Enjoy!

Cocktail Recipes