If it weren’t for one of nature’s happy accidents we wouldn’t have Blood Oranges today. These delicious and juicy oranges are the result of a random mutation of the common Sweet Orange (Citrus sinensis) that was first noted in a fifteenth century Sicilian orange orchard. The attractively dark fruit may range from vermilion to a deep, almost purple-red hue deriving from elevated levels of Anthocyanin, a water-soluble pigment commonly found in many types of red, purple and blue plants.
(image via: Vanilla Garlic)
So striking were the original Blood Oranges in both appearance and taste, the new variety soon spread from Sicily and is extensively grown these days in Italy (sanguinella) and Spain (sanguina). Recently some regional types of Blood Oranges have tickled the fancies (and palates0 of foodies far from their origin, the most notable being the Tarocco and Moro varieties. Moro Oranges are especially praised for their dark, almost burgundy colored fruit and the sweet, strong, low-acid flavor of their juice.
Is an orange ripe when its rind turns from green to orange? Not necessarily, and oranges grown in tropical regions may never turn orange at all! Take those oranges in the images above; they may look ‘shopped but they sure don’t taste ‘shopped, assuming you had the good fortune to be there when they were sliced.
(image via: This Senegalese Life)
The artfully-sliced orange above is from Senegal, a West African nation rooted firmly in the tropic zone. African oranges? Indeed! This wonderful citrus fruit has traveled around the world and back again many times since it originated in Southeast Asia, possibly as an accidental hybrid between the pomelo (Citrus maxima) and mandarin (Citrus reticulata).