The start of the year has seen the arrival of two very popular but two very different oranges arrive in the fridges. Each has a very unique flavour profile and appearance. Both the Blood and the Seville orange are always in high demand at this time of the year.
Originating in Spain and Sicily with varieties including Moro, Sanguinello and Tarocco blood oranges may also be known as Sicilian Blood Oranges with the Arancia Rossa di Sicilia or the Red Orange of Sicily having Protected Geographical Status. However different varieties can be found throughout the world including Southern Italy and California. Unlike regular varieties, blood oranges are only available for a short season usually from December through to May during the Mediterranean fall and winter although this varies slightly depending on the variety.
Similar in both texture and taste to a regular orange, blood oranges have earned their name due to the distinct vivid red colour of their flesh. They get their blood red colour from a family of antioxidant pigments known as anthocyanin with the main compound being Chrysanthemin. The anthocyanin will only develop during the night when the temperature is low causing the characteristic colour of the flesh. Anthocyanin is commonly found in many flowers and fruits however; in citrus fruits it is very uncommon with blood oranges being the exception. There can be colouring on the rind of the orange dependent upon the variety. In comparison to regular oranges, blood oranges are known to have a slightly tougher skin making them harder to peel. It is their citrus undertones coupled with the distinct raspberry- like flavour which makes blood oranges a highly sought after product.
If you have be tempted by Blood Oranges but are unsure how best to use them here are 21 “bloody” good recipes. If you have one that is not on the list or are using Blood Oranges on your menu please Tweet us some pictures so we can share them with other chefs throughout the South West.
Originating in China for use in traditional Chinese medicine, citrus fruits including oranges were brought via trade links in the 10th century to Africa and the Mediterranean. It wasn’t until the 12th century when the first Seville orange, a hybrid between a mandarin and a pomelo was cultivated in Andalucia for its orange oil extract and was the only variety of orange in Europe for the next 500years.
Grown only in the Seville region of Andalucia, Spain; this orange is known for its particularly tart, sour and somewhat bitter flavour. The Seville orange has a thick and bumpy skin which is tightly attached to its almost translucent orange pale flesh, making it rather tricky to peel. Although too sharp to eat raw, cooked with water, sugar and a squeeze of lemon they can be transformed into the finest of preserves or a little rind can add a touch of zing to meat dishes. The majority of the Seville oranges from the region are now shipped to the United Kingdom to be made into marmalade.
The Seville season runs from late December to mid-February however, they can be enjoyed all year round as it is possible to freeze them whole.
The £5000 Marmalade
In 2006 the Duerr family created a commemorative marmalade to mark their 125th anniversary. This very special marmalade cost £5000 for a kilo jar which works out around £76 per slice of toast. As you would expect for this amount of money this was no ordinary marmalade and was made using a vintage Dalmore 62 whiskey, vintage champagne and edible gold leaf. The worlds most expensive marmalade came in a hand crafted jar valued at £1100 and was auctioned off on eBay to raise money for charity.
Although we do not have the recipe for this marmalade are friends at Cornish Food Market have some fantastic Seville orange based recipes including: Seville Orange Marmalade, Seville Orange Gin, Seville Orange Sponge Cake and Spicy Seville Orange Chutney if you have any other Seville themed recipes please send them in and we will pass them on to the Cornish Food Market Team.