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Citrus Surprises: Cara Cara & Blood Oranges

Blood OrangeIt’s that time of year again — flu and cold season. Stock up on vitamin C-packed fruits like the Cara Cara and Blood Oranges. These beautiful citrusy delights are special in that they differ from your ordinary orange with their low acidity, and their rich flavor and coloring as well. At first glance these oranges may seem to be your common navel, but once you cut open and taste a freshly ripened Cara Cara or Blood Orange, you’ll understand why these fruits are exceptional, seasonal superstars in Fairway’s produce department.

The origins of the Cara Cara can be traced back to Valencia, Venezuela, where they are believed to be a cross of the Washington Navel and Brazilian Bahia. American’s first became aware of the Cara Cara in the early 80’s where they were harvested in the sunny states of Florida and California. You will find the Cara Cara at its best during the months of December through March. The fruit is embraced throughout Europe for its gorgeous coloring and taste. The exterior skin of Cara Cara is a yellowish-orange hue, but upon opening the fruit you will notice the light pinkish-red flesh, which is similar to that of a grapefruit. As you take your first bite of the Cara Cara, you’ll be pleasantly surprised to find few to no seeds, with hints of delicious cranberry and cherry flavors.

However, the Blood Orange has quite a different story. You’ll see how it got its name as soon as you cut into it, and see its deep maroon- and crimson-colored flesh. The exact origins of this fruit are unknown, but many suspect a natural mutation occurred somewhere along the Mediterranean coast. It’s such a luscious fruit that its presently the principal orange harvested in Italy. While there are different variations of the blood orange, the three primary and most common types are the Tarocco, Moro, and Sanguinello. In general, blood oranges have a sweet citrusy aroma with raspberry undertones. They are less acidic than your average orange and their season in the United States usually lasts from winter to early spring.

Not only do these types of specialty oranges have distinctive flavors and coloring, but they can be a great source for many nutrients and vitamins that your body craves. Both the Cara Cara and Blood Orange are two fruits that are nutrient-packed, filling, and can supply your body with vitamins A and C. Both are also fat-free, sodium free, and cholesterol free. The Cara Cara also contains lycopene, the pigment which gives the orange its rosy-colored flesh and is known to be a disease-fighting antioxidant. In comparison, the Blood Orange get its burgundy color from the pigment anthocyanin, another powerful antioxidant. The fiber found in both fruits can help alleviate any hunger pains and help fill you up. You can also get creative with Cara Cara or Blood Oranges. If you’re looking to sweeten a salad, try tossing in some segments with different cheeses or nuts. They are also wonderful with vanilla yogurt or baked into your favorite dessert.

Here’s a tangy Blood Orange & Raspberry Smoothie recipe for a quick and filling snack:

  • 2 blood oranges
  • 1/2 cup of raspberries
  • 3/4 cup of vanilla-flavored yogurt
  • 1/2 cup coconut milk
  • 1 tablespoon honey
  • 4 ice cubes
  1. Pull apart segments from the two blood oranges.
  2. Then put the orange segments, raspberries, yogurt, coconut milk, and honey in a blender.
  3. Puree all ingredients until the mixture is smooth and creamy.
  4. Add the ice cubes to the mixture in the blender, and liquefy or pulse the mixer to create a thicker yet smooth consistency to suit your preference.

 TELL US: What’s your favorite type of specialty citrus?

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