Our Lotion this month is Blood Orange Lotion. A lotion of the month is new for us, so we are happy to start by introducing our customers to Blood Orange.

So what makes a blood orange different from an ordinary orange? A blood orange (Citrus x sinensis) is very similar to an ordinary sweet orange (Citrus x sinensis), except for the color and taste. It has a dark purple color that begins near the early formation of the blossom and develops as the fruit develops. Cold nights seem to encourage the development of the dark purpley-red color which is caused by the anthocyanin pigment. There are several varieties of blood orange trees that growers have bred for their color, sweet taste and intense flavor.

Originally Sicily, Italy was the primary source for blood oranges, but now they are also raised in the United States and other warm countries. The essential oil we used at Singing Flower Studio also comes from Sicily.

In the United States three varieties are common; ‘Moro,’(a new variety) ‘Tarocco’ (native to Italy) and ‘Sanguinello’ (native to Spain) are all offered for growers, though there are many varieties available in Europe. Here in the U.S. the oranges ripen in February, but are left on the trees until April to darken and sweeten. In some cases the skin also darkens with age. But this is not always the case, so it is difficult to recognize a blood orange by just looking at the outside skin.

In food blood orange creates a beautiful contrast of color with lighter colored oranges. And mixed together, an interesting contrast of tastes results.

Here is a salad recipe for your January table that I have borrowed from Martha Stewart.

Blood orange salad Recipe

• 5 oranges: Mix navel oranges and blood oranges
• 6 large dry dates quartered and pitted
• 2 oz. Feta Cheese thinly sliced
• 2 T Olive Oil
• Salt and fresh ground pepper to taste
• 5 sprigs of mint slightly chopped
• 1/2 small Chile (serrano is good. Ribs and seeds removed, prettiest if cut it horizontally).

Once you have tasted the sweet flavor of a blood orange, you will be looking for them every spring in your grocery store. They also make a delightful intense fragrance in our new lotion.