Orange bloodlines

From left to right, here are a Moro, Sanguinelli, and Tarocco blood orange, all harvested at Ladera Frutal within the past week.


Obviously, these samples vary quite a bit in both external and internal color, with the Tarocco bloodiest on both sides of the peel.

In favor, they really are quite distinct. This was the first time I had ever tasted two or more different varieties in sequence, as it is our first year of any significant (and overlapping) crops on these trees.

I would rate the Moro as the best flavor, followed by the Tarocco. It is actually not an easy call. The Moro has more of the berry flavor notes that lead some sellers to market these as “raspberry oranges.” The Tarocco is milder, but very balanced and after a few tastes, I started to get some unusual complexity, kind of like a fine red wine. (I have also seen blood oranges sold as “burgundy oranges,” although those I have seen sold that way were always Moros.) The Sanguinelli was the most tart of the three by far, but not overly so. It just has less interesting flavor. However, fruit remaining on the tree may simply benefit from more time, and the tree itself is the smallest and least mature of the three.

The Moro is also the most immediately recognizable as an orange by flavor, despite clear differences when compared to a navel or Valencia. The others taste a bit more like a different class of citrus fruit, with the Tarocco even having a “chewy” texture that could almost make you think it had some grapefruit or pummelo in its bloodlines (though, to my knowledge, it does not).

This Tarocco is not the most common strain sold under that name, but a recent selection that I obtained through a CFRG arrangement with the UCR Citrus Variety Collection. It certainly deserves to be widely released and better known.

0 thoughts on “Orange bloodlines

  1. Drinking Santal brand spremuta of blood oranges last week in Rome, I was surprised how sour they taste in contrast with the FL/CA stuff we Americans drink. I didn’t remember them being that sour five years ago, the last time was in Italy.

    Of course, blood oranges are ‘supposed’ to come from Sicily, but the packaging vaguely referred to “typical regions.”

    And I did get several photos of election propaganda for a forthcoming photoblog.

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