Blood Orange Marmalade

| 3/28/2012 12:36:56 AM

Blood Orange Marmalade  

Blood Oranges may sound scary, like something out of a horror movie, but this brightly colored orange is anything but frightening. Most oranges from California and Arizona can be found in markets throughout the year. The Blood Orange however, is only available from January through April. So, there’s not a lot of time to enjoy this sweet and unusual treat.

 The Blood Orange seems to have a somewhat secretive past. Citrus experts believe that Blood Oranges are a natural mutation, in which the genetic levels of a sweet orange changed and produced an orange with red-colored flesh, juice and rind. The fruit was so interesting that those who saw it continued to propagate the variety. No one knows exactly where this took place, but most people suspect it was in the Mediterranean.

This very old variety first appeared in Southern Europe around 1850, although blood oranges may have been known of earlier. “Red oranges” were first mentioned in Sicily in the Jesuit Ferrari’s opera Hesperides in 1646. According to his account, these oranges were brought to Italy from the Philippines by a Genovese missionary.

Ferrari’s mention isn’t the only record of blood oranges. They also appear in a painting by the Tuscan artist Bartolomeo Bimbi and in illustrations by the botanist Micheli, both of whom lived in the 17th and 18th centuries.

Blood Oranges were eventually brought to North America by Spanish and Italian immigrants. They are also known as Pigmented oranges, Sanguina, Sanguine, Rubies, Blush or Moro oranges.

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