I’ve got a good one this week, blood oranges.
They are only in season during January and February but they are definitely worth looking up as you can do anything with them.
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However, I do have one plea, don’t make marmalade with them! Marmalade is horrible and there are better things to do with blood oranges than making this.
In fact there are so many things that they go well with that I have written a list. They work well with shellfish and will be brilliant with any pan-fried scallops, crab or, if you’re going crazy, lobster.
They also make a fantastic mayonnaise, just buy a jar of ready-made mayo, add some blood orange and garlic and serve.
At the moment we are serving a puree of blood orange and cauliflower which works really well. Just chop up some cauliflower, cook it out and add a whole blood orange to give it a bit of a kick.
It works well with curry because it loves a lot of spice. Just grate the zest in and add a squeeze of juice to finish off any spicy dish.
It make a wonderful dressing. A squeeze of orange juice, a bit of olive oil and a couple of teaspoons of balsamic vinegar and off you go. It also loves anything creamy like cottage cheese, custard and crème brûlée. It even works well with cauliflower cheese, just add a squeeze of juice, some puree to give it a kick, cheese on top and you’ve got something wonderful.
It’s fantastic with potatoes, add it to a bit of mayo to create a lovely dip or, if you’re making a purée, then use it as a topping for your baked spuds.
You can also peel it, deep fry the skins, add a bit of icing sugar and serve it with anything as a tasty treat for dipping. Or why not go classical and make a beautiful rice pudding, put the juice in with the rice, top with wafer thin slices of orange and icing sugar and pop it under the grill to give it a lovely sweet topping.
They even make fantastic treats for the bambinos. Slice them thinly, add icing sugar and put it under the grill for 10 minutes. It will basically make hot marmalade which I hate but, if you let it go cold, you get these fantastic blood orange style toffee apples.
Finally, if you’re really boring, take six blood oranges and six fluid ounces of stock syrup, which is made from water and sugar, squeeze the juice into a bowl, add the stock syrup, whisk them together, put them in the freezer and you’ve got orange slush puppies.
Custard loves it, vanilla loves it, even boiled onions love it. Just chuck six onions in water, add a blood orange and some salt and pepper and there you go. I could honestly eat them for weeks.
They are weird, interesting little things that go with everything but please, whatever you do, don’t make marmalade!
Oranges are the largest citrus crop in the world but did you know that they were first cultivated in south east Asia?
Here are 10 more fascinating facts that you might not know about oranges.
1 The orange is technically a type of berry
2 The fruit is a hybrid of a tangerine and a Chinese grapefruit
3 Brazil produces the largest amount of oranges globally, growing about 30% of the world’s oranges annually
4 If you plant a single seed from an orange you will probably get more than one plant growing from it
5 After chocolate and vanilla, orange is the world’s favourite flavour
6 Christopher Columbus brought the first orange seeds and seedlings to the New World on his second voyage in 1493
7 100g of orange contains about 45 calories, 9g of sugar and almost all of your recommended daily allowance of vitamin C
8 If a ripe orange is left on a tree for too long it will turn green. This process, called re-greening, only affects the colour and not the taste or quality of the fruit.
9 The sweet, juicy oranges that are consumed in America first came from China
10 Florida and California produce nearly 25 billion pounds of oranges each year