By Cheryl Forberg, RD
, so named for the crimson peel and flesh, originated in Southern Italy and the island of Malta, in the Mediterranean. In fact, a classic French sauce, Sauce Maltaise, is a variation of Hollandaise Sauce, using blood orange juice instead of lemon juice.
Blood oranges should definitely be stored in the refrigerator where they can last for approximately two weeks.
Three, medium-sized blood oranges weigh about one pound and will deliver about one cup of juice. One blood orange has 70 calories, 3.0 grams of fiber and 120% of the RDA for Vitamin C.
Melissa's Blood Oranges are in abundant supply December through the month of March. Named for their deep pink or red-streaked flesh, these Blood Oranges are sweetly flavored. Their skins may have a reddish blush. Smaller than an average orange with slightly rougher skin, Melissa's Blood Oranges are juicy and best when eaten fresh. Blood Oranges are also popular with chefs for use in cooked sauces.
Choose Blood Oranges that are firm and heavy for their size. Blood Oranges may have a full-colored blush or have no blush at all. Avoid blemishes and shriveled or moldy spots. For the juiciest, sweetest fruit, look for Blood Oranges with a sweet, clean fragrance.
“A late-harvest variety of blood orange with an intense coloring both inside and out. The external red pigmentation of the Sanguinelli is, by far, the most deeply solid crimson of all the blood orange varieties. The late-ripening Sanguinelli is slightly egg-shaped with purplish-red fruit that has a mostly sweet flavor with just a hint of tartness to it.
Originally from Spain, the variety has very few seeds and has always been prized for its excellent juicing characteristics both in flavor quality and quantity. After several seasons developing a home-grown crop of this classic variety, our own California grower has harvested a limited amount of this beautiful fruit, which is available for only a few weeks in February.
A twist on the classic Limoncello, this gorgeous version has the ruby hue of sweet juicy blood oranges. If you can’t find Everclear, you can use vodka, though its flavor is more assertive than Everclear, which can mask some of the lemon essence.
Approximately 1 Liter or 34 two ounce servings
16 Blood Oranges
(gently scrubbed to remove any wax)
1 (750-ml) bottle Grain Alcohol (Everclear)
3 cup Water
2 cups Melissa’s Organic Blue Agave Nectar
Gently wash the oranges, but do not scrub too vigorously as you don’t want any of the flavorful oils to escape. Using a vegetable peeler, remove the peel from the oranges in long strips (juice the oranges or save for another use). Trim away any remaining white pith from the peels with a sharp paring knife and discard.
Place the orange peels in a very clean 1-quart jar. Pour the alcohol over the peels and place cover on jar. Seal tightly. Steep the orange peels in alcohol for 45 days (or at least one month) in a cool dark place. Shake occasionally. Carefully strain Malta-cello with a cheesecloth lined mesh strainer. Discard the peels. There will be approximately 3½ cups. Return to the 1-quart jar.
Stir the water and agave together and add to the Malta-cello jar. Shake well and return to cool dark place for another 30 days.
Transfer the Malta-cello to small 200 ml bottles. Seal the bottles and refrigerate or freeze. Serve cold in chilled glasses.
52% of the Vitamin C in citrus fruit is found in the peel. Don’t toss your zest!
Nutritional information (per 2 ounce serving):