Gardening Articles: Edibles :: Fruit & Nut Trees

Wild New Citrus (page 2 of 5)

by Lance Walheim

Blood Oranges

Blood oranges are old varieties of oranges that until recently were virtually unknown in the U.S., despite our huge citrus industries. The red color of the flesh and juice is the most obvious difference, but there's something more to the flavor as well. Americans traveling in France, Italy or Spain would relish a glass of blood orange juice, sometimes believing it a mixture of regular orange juice with raspberry and other fruit juices.

'Moro' blood orange. The most predictable and colorful of all the blood oranges, 'Moro' is the most popular commercial and home garden variety. Once mature, the exterior shows a bright red blush, and the internal color is deep red. The juice is equally dark.

The fruits are medium-size, easy-to-peel and usually seedless. The tree is vigorous but has a tendency to bear heavy crops in alternate years. Fruits ripen December to March in inland California, Texas and the Gulf Coast; February to May in coastal southern California; November to February in the low-elevation desert; and February to May in northern coastal California.

'Sanguinelli' blood orange. This is a late-ripening blood orange from Spain. The flesh is usually a shade lighter than 'Moro', but skin color is often a stunning cherry red.

Fruits are small- to medium-size and almost egg-shaped. The rind is very smooth but is harder to peel than other blood oranges. Fruits usually contain a few seeds. They ripen March to May in inland California; February to April in Texas, low-elevation deserts, the Gulf Coast and Florida; and April to June in coastal California (both north and south).

'Tarocco' blood orange. These fruits are the largest of all the blood oranges. They ripen after 'Moro' but before 'Sanguinelli'. 'Tarocco' is also generally considered the best-flavored of the three.

Fruits are large and the orange-blushed-with-red rind is smooth, thin and easy to peel. Internal color varies: Sometimes it is plain orange; at other times it is very deep red. Most fruits produce a few seeds. 'Tarocco' is well adapted only to California climates; it is not grown in Texas, the Gulf Coast or Florida. It ripens March to May in coastal California (north and south) and January to March in inland California.

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