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Jams, salads, cocktails and more great uses for blood oranges, now in season

Jams, salads, cocktails and more great uses for blood oranges, now in season
Moro blood oranges from JJ's Lone Daughter Ranch at the Santa Monica farmers market. (Noelle Carter / Los Angeles Times)

What's in season: Another cold-weather-loving member of the citrus family, the blood orange is known for its vibrant crimson interior and sweet-tart flavor. The red coloring, which sometimes appears as streaks in the fruit and a blush of pink on the skin, comes from the same anthocyanin pigment that gives raspberries their rich hue. Varieties include the deep red Moro, known for its intense flavor and aroma, the sweet Tarocco and the rosy-skinned Smith red. The oranges can be found from late winter into early spring.

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What to cook: Because of their bright red color, blood oranges lend a dramatic flair to any of a number of dishes, sweet or savory. Add fresh orange slices or segments to salads, and juice the fruit (be careful, it stains) into cocktails. Simmer the oranges for marmalade or jam. Add the juice to marinades or incorporate it into a sauce — classic Maltaise sauce is nothing more than Hollandaise combined with blood orange juice and is terrific spooned over vegetables or fish. Blood oranges also work well in desserts, lending flavor and color to ice creams and custards, as well as cakes and tarts.

What's on the horizon: Smooth, green Fuertes and pebbly Hass are just a couple of the varieties of avocados showing up now. You can also find cherimoya, an oddly-shaped fruit with leathery green skin that's prized for its velvety texture and sweet, tropical flavor.

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