Want to learn about the types of oranges available? The orange is one of our favorite ingredients for dessert crepe recipes.
After a little research on the subject, we developed this handy guide to use when selecting oranges for eating and cooking.
As you can see from the above picture, which was taken outside my home, the orange is famous for its beautiful golden hue. As a matter of fact, the Latin name for the fruit, Citrus aurantium, actually comes from the word aurum, for gold.
There are three primary types of oranges available today: sweet oranges, mandarin, and bitter. All three have distinctive characteristics useful to the modern cook.
Sweet oranges are the world's most popular for eating and juicing. There are more than 70 varieties of sweet oranges, including the Valencia, Temple and Blood orange. Any of these oranges would be delicious in our classic crepes suzette recipe, which calls for fresh orange juice, fruit, and tangy zest. Sweet oranges are grown in the U.S. from October until June.
The most famous sweet orange is the seedless navel, which was actually created in 1820 in a Brazilian monastery.
What snack can compete with the navel orange in terms of portability and taste? Not to mention the health benefits!
They will last for 2 weeks at room temperature and up to a month in the refrigerator.
Blood oranges are famous for their multi-colored pulp which includes streaks of orange and red.
Their dark, almost purple juice is a delicious ingredient in salad dressings and glazes.
The color of their skin, which varies in hue, intensifies during the cooler part of their growing season.
Mandarin oranges, which include varieties such as clementines, tangerines and satsumas, are often referred to as the "loose-skinned" or "kid-glove" variety. They are smaller than the sweet orange, more elliptical in shape and vary greatly in color and taste. But like sweet oranges, they are perfect for eating and can easily be peeled by hand. Their growing season runs from October to April.
Mandarins are only 2-3 inches wide and are available year-round as canned fruit. Perhaps this is why mandarin orange dessert recipes are so plentiful! They're also delicious mixed in with salads and other fruits.
And of course, canned mandarins and their juice would make an excellent crepe suzette recipe when out of season!
We have a special place in our hearts for tangerines because they earned us the title of the Official Dessert of the 2009 Citrus Parade.
The fruit in this picture is a variety known as the honey tangerine, which is slightly bigger than the mandarin.
Tangerines are named for Tangier, Morocco, the first port to introduce them to Europe.
Don't be put off by the name! Although bitter oranges are too sour for most of us to consume raw, these types of oranges are very important to the world's greater culinary palette. They are used for making jams, marmalades, compotes and orange liqueurs such as Grand Marnier and Cointreau. We know how important orange liqueur is to crepes suzette, but I'm thinking that a marmalade sauce would also be a delicious topping for a dessert or savory crepe. Hmmmm....
Also referred to as the Seville orange, bitter oranges are especially aromatic and prized for their essential oils, which are used for perfumes.
Bitter oranges are thicker-skinned than sweet and mandarin oranges. They're cultivated across the world, including California and Florida, where they are still found growing wild.
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