Thursday, January 6, 2011

Orange you glad to see me?

I recently visited Florida, USA to do a little cross-border eating. Visiting the state during the autumn or winter months is fantastic, not just because of the weather, but because it marks harvest season for a number of citrus fruit.

Locals often have citrus trees growing in their yards, like this tangerine tree seen below. The fruit it bore was easy to peel and incredibly sweet. You really can't beat fruit that has been ripened on the tree!

Another harvest fruit was the grapefruit. Honestly, I cannot palate the grapefruit available in Canada. To the contrary, fresh Florida grapefruit is divine. It is actually so sweet that it can taste very similar to an orange!

If you are visiting and do not have access to privately-owned citrus trees, feel free to visit a local open-air market. The one I visited was called Wagon Wheel Flea Market, which was located in St. Petersburg, Florida.

As you can see, a large variety of fresh citrus was available.

You could also purchase trees bearing citrus fruit in the market!

The market vendors often allow you to taste the fruit before you buy.

One variety of citrus that you must try is the pomelo. Pomelos are football-sized fruit weighing approximately 1-2 kilos.

The fruit is very similar to a grapefruit, but having a milder flavour. The membrane tends to be tough and is not readily eaten. The meat of the fruit can be either pink or white. Both are delicious.

I saved the best for last!

Blood oranges are, by far, my favourite of all citrus fruit.

As you can see, they have a wonderful dark red colour compared to their orange counterparts. They are a great source of vitamin C and many varieties are available with flavours ranging from sweet to tangy.

Blood oranges are readily used in European cooking and an amazing way to serve them is by making a salad. Simply slice the meat and top the pieces with a high-quality extra virgin olive oil and some sea salt. The olive oil and sea salt really help to bring out the flavours. Blood orange salad is bloody good!

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