What to Do When It’s Blood Orange Season

(Last Updated On: February 1, 2018)
Blood Orange Season
Learn the Secrets of Blood Orange Season

Blood Orange Season

Chicago is often not as warm as I would like it to be. Beautiful winter and spring afternoons are often followed by cold or rainy days. One of the ways I bring summer into my life, is with a variety of interesting citrus. Fortunately blood orange season coincides with this period of grey skies. Somehow just the sight of a tall glass of red juice makes me smile.

Blood Orange Season
Blood Orange Season

Blood Orange Season and Other Citrus

Winter can be long in Chicago. Instead of fresh, locally grown fruit, the markets are filled with citrus fruit from warmer locations. Although I’m sometimes drawn to the knobby ugliness of interesting tangerines, I can’t resist buying blood oranges when they are available. The colorful bright red flesh makes it one of my preferred  ingredients.

Blood Orange vs Orange

Blood oranges are smaller and sweeter tasting than other orange varieties. They are also higher in Vitamin C. Thick skinned, they aren’t easy to peel.  It is best to cut them into segments.

Blood Orange Season
Blood Orange Slice

Blood Orange Season In Italy

I first tried blood orange juice on a European train.  Parched and hungry after an overnight journey, the appearance of vendor in my train car was a dream come true. Blood oranges even now remain linked in my mind with remarkable occurrences and the romance of foreign travel.

Blood Orange Season Recipes

Although blood orange recipes include desserts, I think blood oranges pair best with savory ingredients.  I like adding them to salads. My favorite blood orange salad mixes them with avocado, feta cheese and pistachios on a bed of spinach.  I often have it for lunch.  I also make it into a healthy dinner  by adding a filet of salmon or some sliced chicken.

Blood Orange Cocktail

The unique flavor and bold color of blood oranges make them a popular cocktail ingredient. I think the sweet juice makes an interesting foil for the bitterness of the Campari, so I created a Blood Orange Negroni.  Although garnishes usually remain on the glass rim, I couldn’t resist immersing a bright colored wheel of fruit into my drink as well.

Blood Orange Season
Blood Orange Negroni

Blood Orange Liqueur

Although I enjoy limoncello, the Italian lemon liqueur, I have never tried a liqueur made with blood oranges. Served after dinner, the chilled shots are meant to aid digestion. Chicago Magazine’s feature on Chef David Di Gregorio’s recipe from Osteria Via Stato has inspired me to try making my own. Here’s the link to his Orangecello recipe. Although it will lasts for two years if kept chilled, it should be ready to drink next week. Let me know if you try it too.

 

Blood Orange Season
Blood Orange Slices

Other Healthy Recipe Ideas

I like simple recipes for weekday meals. When I want something thirst quenching for on the go, I make my green juice .  On mornings when I have more time I like a smoothie bowl. And for a quick dinner on a  cold  night, I often make chicken ramen.

Recipes

Blood Orange and Avocado Salad

Serves 2

2 blood oranges chopped

1 avocado, chopped

¼ cup feta cheese

¼ cup pistachios, toasted

2 large handfuls of spinach

2 tablespoons lime juice

4 tablespoons olive oil

2 teaspoons maple syrup

Lightly toast pistachios in a dry skillet over medium low for a few minutes making sure to stir constantly to prevent burning. Next peel and chop the avocado. Don’t try to peel the oranges, instead cut the oranges in half, then use a knife to extract the flesh from the peels. Carefully chop the orange segments. Mix the orange and avocado with 1 tablespoon of olive oil, 1 tablespoon lime juice and 1 teaspoon maple syrup then mix remaining olive oil, lime juice and maple syrup to dress the greens. Place the spinach in a salad bowl and then toss with the dressing. Mound the avocado and orange mixture on top and then sprinkle with feta cheese and pistachios. Add a salmon filet or sliced chicken for a heartier meal.

Blood Orange Negroni

Serves 2

2 ounces gin

2 ounces blood orange juice

1 ounce sweet vermouth

1 ounce Campari

2 slices of blood orange

Put all of the ingredients except the orange slices in a metal shaker with ice then shake until condensation appears on the shaker. Strain the liquid into short tumblers filled with a cube or two of ice and then garnish with blood orange wheels.

Blood Orange Season
Blood Orange Peels

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