At the Farmers' Market: Blood Oranges

It's blood orange season! Now that the markets are finally open after being closed two or three weeks due to the holidays, you can swoop in and get the ruddy-stained citrus fruits at the peak of the season.

If you've never had a blood orange, you're in for a treat. Loved mostly for their juice, which is the deep, dark red of blood, they're one of the tartest oranges around, so tart that even Italian people, who have made a tradition of loving sour, bitter and tart flavors, often sweeten the juice, particularly at the ends of the season.

If you're looking for other things to do with them, you can make beautiful, ruby-red marmalade out of them, candy their peels for an arresting presentation on a cake, or mix the juice with confectioner's (icing) sugar until it becomes a syrup; this syrup goes perfectly on light cakes and pound cakes and makes a beautiful winter trifle when layered with pound cake, seedless tangerine segments, custard and whipped cream.

Whatever you do, work carefully with blood oranges--the juice stains nearly as deeply as pomegranates.


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