Citrus Rainbow: Orange, Red and Pink

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Most people know that an orange is, well, orange colored. Winter is the season for citrus and in California we have a great deal of specialty citrus that is unknown in less robust growing regions. In the Horn of Plenty crates over the next few weeks you will find multiple types of citrus that are all in the orange family and on the outside may look like an orange, but on the inside are very different.
Navels, Blood Oranges and Cara-Caras:
The first is the standard Navel orange. This was originally cultivated in Brazil in the 1820's from the sweet orange and brought to California.
Second, you will find a thicker piece of citrus with a reddish blush to the skin. This is the blood orange. Blood oranges are grown in desert regions and have a darker inner flesh, it is ruby red. This orange is said to have just "popped up" on a tree in Sicily sometime in the 17th century. In many parts of Spain, Italy and North Africa if you ask for orange juice you will get blood orange juice.
The third kind of citrus is the Cara Cara. Its popularity has increased over the years. A few years ago I asked my neighborhood grocery clerk if he had Cara Caras. He looked at me a bit skeptically and said no but maybe if I looked in the "for sale" section of the paper I could find something I might like to drivea drivea.
Check your taste buds:
Try cutting the three different oranges and taste testing. I think that the navel has a rich citrus texture to it and a heavy sweet taste. The blood oranges tend to be tangy and you can pick up hints of berry flavor amongst the juice. Cara-Cara's seem to have a lighter, almost satin texture and a refreshing taste.
Health Benefits of color:
If eating an "orange" that has a dark red flesh to it makes you uncomfortable, remember this: there are benefits of color in fruit. The red color in fruit, whether it is from the skin of the red delicious apple to the sweet red juice of the blood orange is caused by the presence of anthocyanin an antioxidant. Antioxidants act to destroy free radicals that contribute to cellular breakdown. What does this mean for fruit eaters? Eat that apple skin & don't be afraid of the "blood" in the blood red orange.

 

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