This Week at the Malibu Farmers Market: Blood Oranges

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Blood Orange

We are happy to report the California blood orange harvest this year has provided an abundant, healthy crop — much better than last year’s, which was limited because of a combination of drought and frost. 

You can tell this treat is a “real” fruit because it’s not perfect to look at, just perfect to eat. A smallish, irregularly round orange, this fruit is best eaten when the thin rind displays a reddish blush and when there is a bit of “give” when squeezed. The surprise is the pink to burgundy red interior and its unusual and very “orangy,” tart-sweet, berry-like tang. 

Select the fruits that are heavy for their size and firm (but not hard) to the touch. It is best to keep them in the refrigerator, where they will keep up to two weeks. Eat them fresh. Peel the orange (leaving the white pith for fiber), cut between the membranes to expose the flesh, and remove the sections or cut in bite-size pieces. You can also use them as juice, in salads, sorbets, marinades and in cocktails. 

The blood orange is rich in antioxidants and vitamins (particularly vitamin C), which is vital for healthy healing, boosting the immune system and helping your body absorb iron. It is also an excellent source of fiber, which helps lower cholesterol. The fruit also contains a bit of protein, potassium and folate. One medium-sized blood orange will provide you with 70 calories, 3.0 grams of fiber, 1.0 gram of protein, and no fat, sodium or cholesterol. The intense reddish color of the fruit’s flesh is due to the presence of anthrocyanins, also found in other fruits and vegetables of high color. The darker the color, the more anthrocyanins — which are thought to prevent cancer and heart disease, as well as to treat eye disorders. 

Blood Orange “Martini”

Serve strained, chilled and in a sugar-rimmed glass.

Into a martini shaker, add equal parts tequila and Cointreau, the juice of one small blood orange, a teaspoon of sugar (more to taste) and two ice cubes. Shake, strain and pour. Salud!