Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Orange you glad I didn't say banana?

I’m usually not a much of a citrus gal, but every few years I find myself going into serious orange craving mode. A few weeks ago I grabbed an orange for my daily fruit intake at the office and was amazed and addicted to the juicy and super sweet pulp. This was no dud. This was a legit orange.

Next thing you know, oranges are the second thing I grab at the grocery store, preceded by bananas of course. Without fail, I keep getting these crazy good oranges. WTF? Is this for real? It is. Apparently it’s orange season and I didn’t even know it.

On Sunday I paid a visit to the Fort Mason Farmers’ Market for the first time in months and holy oranges, Batman! I had no idea there were so many varieties! Since I was in a rush, I didn’t get a chance to sample and savor all the farmers had to offer. Instead, I grabbed a few oranges based on whichever had the most interesting name.

This week’s winner: Cara Cara Navel Orange

From the Sunkist website (because they seem like a reliable source of citrus info, being the citrus king and all):
Cara Cara oranges, a type of navel orange grown in California's San Joaquin Valley, are available December through April. The bright orange exterior of cara cara oranges is similar to other navels, but their interior is a distinctive pinkish red, has an exceptionally sweet flavor with a tangy cranberry-like zing, and few to no seeds.
These babies are deceptively pink/red. Had I not peeled it myself, I would have thought I was eating a grapefruit! Of course, the minute you bite into the pulpy morsel you get a very very distinct orange taste. It’s sweet and slightly tart – exactly what I look for in an orange (yes, I believe an orange can be too sweet). The one downside to this winter treat is that it’s a bit tough to peel. I found myself struggling and hoping that I didn’t take a chunk of orange out with the peel. Perhaps it’s best sliced into wedges.

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