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Moro Blood Oranges

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Moro Blood Oranges are now coming out of the Central San Joaquin Valley. The red flesh varies in intensity depending on the variety, location where the trees are grown and the degree of fruit maturity. Brought to America in the 1930’s by Italian and Spanish immigrants Blood Oranges are now grown commercially in Central and Southern California, Texas and Florida. The season starts in San Diego County, overlaps and finishes in the foothills of Fresno County.

The Moro variety is the most commonly found in the supermarket because it develops the most consistent red flesh color at peak flavor. At the beginning of the season the flesh will have a slight red tinge to it with a sweet and tart flavor.  Citrus picked early in the harvest will not have developed their full flavor.  After a month or two of eating blood oranges the flesh has become super sweet and turning that deep red almost purple color with a floral fragrance and berry flavor,  It is still not known exactly why the insides turn red but it could be because blood oranges contain anthocyanins , a family of pigments common to many flowers and fruit, but uncommon in citrus fruits.

Blood Oranges are packed with vitamin C, carotenoids and are high in potent antioxidant properties. Hot days and cold nights are needed to bring out the best flavors in blood oranges. The red blush on the outside of the fruit is because of the sun and not related to the red color of the flesh. Fruit that is exposed more to the sun on one part of the tree will have more of a blush color on the skin which will become darker later in the season if left on the tree longer. Choose a blood orange the same as you would any citrus, look for the heaviest fruit which means more juice.  Eat them out of hand or juice for a healthy beverage.

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