It’s Citrus Season
Orinda’s farmers’ market is bursting with citrus. Sweet navel oranges, found year-round, now find themselves joined by mandarins, blood oranges, the popular Cara Cara and pomelos.
A loose fitting or “zipper” skin and easy-to-separate segments identify mandarins and hybrids. We all love that! Depending on variety, they may be sweet or tart, large or small, seedless or seeded.
Best known of the mandarins are the tangerines with their thin, reddish orange skin. The Clementine is another sweet variety of mandarin, but slightly smaller in size with a brighter orange color than a tangerine.
Tangelos are a tangerine-grapefruit hybrid and generally firmer and larger than tangerines. Most popular of this type of mandarin is the Minneola. Virtually seedless, it is easily identified by its deep orange color, pebbly skin and round bump or knob at the stem end that gives it the bell shape and nickname “Honeybell” which distinguish it.
The tangor, also called the temple orange and a hybrid of the mandarin orange and sweet orange, typically comes to market late. Remember the tangor as a word formed from the “tang” of tangerine and the “or” of orange. The thick rind peels easily and its pulp provides full flavor, juice and seeds.
Blood oranges may look like any other orange on the outside (some may have a reddish blush), but the inside flesh reveals anywhere between a brilliant dark pink to dark blood red color. Its flavor hints of raspberry, and it proves delicious used in juices, jellies, cocktails and vinaigrettes.
The Cara Cara is a pinkish-red fleshed navel orange that tends to be sweeter and less acidic navels. Cara Cara also boast 20% more Vitamin C and 30% more Vitamin A when compared to regular navels.
Pomelos look like giant grapefruits with greenish skin, but they are actually a separate species of citrus fruit. The very thick skin of the pomelo peels easily, and the flesh, relatively sweet, gives you a reason to try.
Citrus fruits are sold ripe and ready to eat. Choose those that are heavy for their size, with full color and a shiny skin. Store them in a plastic bag in the refrigerator for up to two weeks if necessary.
The Orinda market is open every Saturday from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. on Orinda Way in Orinda Village. More information is available at www.cccfm.org, facebook.com/OrindaFarmersMarket and Instagram@OrindaFarmersMarket, or call the market hotline 925.431.8361.