Citrus-a-Vating with the Household Blood Oranges
Interesting fruit, no? Our blood oranges were supposed to be Cara Cara Navels, but we got a dark, dark blood orange; it is mostly darker than the one pictured here. Ours definitely has a "red" taste to it, sorta like berries or raspberries, and are generally much darker than the orange at right--that pigment is what gives them that berry flavor.
Now is the time of year a lot of citrus comes ripe all over southern California. That's when the significant-other-hubby-type-person starts to gently urge (read "nag"here) me to do taste the blood oranges and do something with them. For a semi-dwarf tree, it sure bears well. And for some reason, the wildlife ignores the fruit, so we always have plenty.
He usually picks them a little too early. When I taste them they have flavor but are much too sour to eat right then. If I wait, they never seem to get so ripe that I really want to eat them out of hand, but they make a great jelly or marmalade. I think they would make a great syrup too.
Here is a recipe from the National Center For Home Food Preservation for some spiced orange jelly. I leave the spices out so the flavor of my blood oranges shines through.
Spiced Orange Jelly with powdered pectin (Omit items below and will have plain Orange Jelly)
Yield: About 4 half-pint jars
2 cups orange juice (about 5 medium oranges)
1/3 cup lemon juice (about 2 medium lemons)
2/3 cup water
1 package powdered pectin
2 tablespoons orange peel, finely chopped (omit for plain orange jelly)
1 teaspoon whole allspice (omit for plain orange jelly)
½ teaspoon whole cloves (omit for plain orange jelly)
4 sticks cinnamon, 2 inches long (omit for plain orange jelly)
3½ cups sugar
Procedure: Sterilize canning jars and prepare two-piece canning lids according to manufacturer's directions.
To make jelly. Mix orange juice, lemon juice, and water in a large saucepan. Stir in pectin. Place orange peel, allspice, cloves, and cinnamon sticks loosely in a clean white cloth; tie with a string and add to fruit mixture. Place on high heat and, stirring constantly, bring quickly to a full rolling boil that cannot be stirred down. Add sugar, continue stirring, and heat again to a full rolling boil. Boil hard for 1 minute. Remove from heat. Remove spice bag and skim off foam quickly.
Pour hot jelly immediately into hot, sterile jars, leaving ¼ inch headspace. Wipe rims of jars with a dampened clean paper towel; adjust two-piece metal canning lids. Process in a Boiling Water Canner.
Process in a boiling water canner, for half pints or pints:
At 0 to 1000 ft. -- 5 minutes.
At 1001-6000 ft. -- 10 minutes.
Over 6000 ft. -- 15 minutes