Sunday, January 23, 2011

The Moro Blood Orange

Vegetarian Vampires love this fruit!!!  As do many Tucsonans....

Queue music.  And da da daaaaa!  This is one of the sacred trees of Tucson.  When I call trees sacred, it means that they are protected safely in people's backyards away from wandering hands and mouths on the street:)  This tree is also known as the Blood Orange or the Moro Blood Orange. I didn't know what people were talking about when they told me that I needed to put a Moro Blood Orange into the ground.  So I went to a local nursery and ate one.....and it was very good.  It had almost a berry flavor to it.  It has been in the ground now for a year and it's doing very well. It follows all the previous rules of citrus, but you need to watch this particular plant during a freeze.  A lot of times it will say that citrus is good until a freeze at 32 degrees and to be honest, it doesn't go below 32 for long here and that doesn't really affect our citrus plants.  However this plant is a bit more touchy like the Lisbon Lemon.  There haven't been any fruits from the plant yet, but I think this will be the year that it happens.  For the feel of this post, I thought it would be fun to read some of the comments people made about the moro because you'll hear about it if you look for citrus trees:)
From Paul in California, "I really like Moro Blood Oranges. I have had a 3-4 foot tree in the ground for about a year or so, and I have already enjoyed about 5 micro-fruits from it, and it is fruiting again. I think it is an orange that is worth growing for its distinctive blackberry overtones; it is kind of like an "adult" orange, and an orange with an extra flavor added. Here, in California, it is widely sold as the "common" blood orange to grow. The Sanguinella and Tarocco are also sold, but they do not seem to be quite as popular.

The fruit really has a tendency to be small. I am not sure I have ever seen a big one, even in the stores. And the skin is very tight skinned, which for some people can be difficult. He further notes that his fruit was dry. This is not the case with my Moro (which is in an area that is...probably...too wet for its own the end of my drainage pipe...I was actually wondering if it would survive...the adjacent longan did not.)
However, I am not convinced that dry fruit on a citrus tree is inevitably the product of too little water. I have noticed that citrus trees that are generally unhappy (I saw many of these over the weekend!), regardless of how much water you give them, will frequently make lots of fruit that looks good, but can be dry as a desert inside.(Excuse me?) . Perhaps it never found its rhythym. I see a lot of citrus trees obviously out of rhythm. They struggle. Also, it seems that sometimes a citrus tree is carrying more fruit than it can realistically provide for. Under such circumstances, I have noticed they often produce dry fruit.
So far, mine has been fine with average water and citrus fertilizer. It is true that the flesh of my moros, unfortunately, does not color up too well because I guess, by the book, I lack the heat.(This is where the desert is NEEDED! Sorry, I shouldn't add my own comments here:) You open them up and see just small striations of color. Some people would probably be upset with this: a blood orange without the full blood color! But, I confess, I am not too concerned...because they rock! "

There's one response.  You can see why this fruit will redden up here in the desert as we have the heat and the sun.  It needs that extra punch to fully form that red fruit inside.  Here's another response from Anon6137410(A Borg from the Midwest?), "I tried a blood orange for the first time today. I've wanted to try one for years! They're hard to come by in the midwest.

I didn't know what to look for when picking one out, so I chose one that had some red on the skin and was softer when I squeezed it.
I was prepared for what it looked like inside, but was unsure of what to expect for taste. Wow, was it tangy! More tang than sweet. Is that normal? (No, unless it was one of the other 2 varieties or it needed to stay on the tree for awhile.)
In the future, what is the best to look for when picking out blood oranges?(Tight skinned? Maybe, but the peels came off rather easily for me and they weren't tangy as they were sweet and berrylike. Sometimes it has to do with the age of the tree. The first couple crops are always said to be tart before they get sweet.) I have no idea what type the local store carries, but it was a Sunkist.
And finally, here is another response from New Orleans, "I live on the west bank of New Orleans. And we have the very best oranges I've ever tasted. These blood oranges are so sweet and so juicy. Everyone I give them to are just blown away. I have no idea whats makes them so good. I have one small tree bout 10 feet high and just as wide produce almost 1000 oranges. It's crazy. I love them. everyone says I should sell them. I eat my share and just give them away."

From reading many posts, this tree sounds like a rich person's tree.  There are 3 varieties of blood oranges...Sanguinello, Tarocco, and Moro.  You find everyone has their opinion about what the best tasting blood orange you can decide.  Maybe you have one and  would like to share your story:)  Until next time, see you in the garden!


  1. It is even harder to come by here! Somehow those red pulps makes me think that it is a tangy fruit.

  2. People in the tropics believe, feel as if they know everything needed about fruits. Oranges for example.

    Well, this is one of those really interesting posts not often found about a subject one has some
    tasting experience.


  3. The Moro survived our Tucson freeze which is good news for our Moro fruit lovers.


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