Chef Heather Hunsaker
Special to the Bonanza

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February 3, 2012
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Dining: Orange you happy itand#8217;s citrus season?

TAHOE/TRUCKEE — If the cold winter weather has got you down, brighten up your day with fresh, sweet oranges. Oranges and citrus fruit are in season and can be found taking over the produce department this time of year. With all the varieties of oranges available you may be left wondering what makes each type of orange unique.

Here are juicy citrus facts:

Navel oranges are the most common variety of oranges. They are seedless, have thick skins, peel easily and are a classic orange size with a dimple on the non-stem end. Navel oranges are sweet and juicy however, their juice ferments easily, so use immediately.

Valencia oranges are small to medium in size, have thin skins, few seeds, and are very juicy; making them the perfect orange for juicing.

Blood oranges, often called Moro, are famous for their deep-red flesh. They sport thin, reddish-orange skin and flesh that varies in color from pink to deep red. Moros are less acidic than other orange varieties and taste sweet and berry-like, making them best for eating rather than juicing. Blood oranges are more uncommon and are be found at specialty markets and on occasion grocery stores.

Cara Cara oranges are a type of navel orange with red or pink fruit. They have exceptionally sweet flavor with cherry undertones and a tart cranberry-like zing. Cara Cara oranges make colorful and flavorful additions to beverages or salad dressings.

Tangerines are smaller in size and have looser peels than oranges. They have bright orange skins and have a sweeter, brighter taste than traditional oranges making them great for a quick breakfast or addition to salads.

Clementines, often called “cuties,” are very small oranges and similar to tangerines in appearance. Due to their small size, thin and easy to peel skin, and sweet honey-like flavor, clementines are perfect for snacking and lend themselves to both savory and sweet dishes.

Mandarins are a variety of tangerines that contain seeds. While many people enjoy mandarins from a can, fresh mandarins have a wonderful mild, sweet flavor.

— Chef Heather Hunsaker attended and graduated from Le Cordon Bleu College of Culinary Arts, but has been developing family friendly meals since she was 9 years old in her mother's kitchen. She is an avid crockpotter and knows how to get food on the table in a pinch. She currently serves as a writer and recipe developer for meal planning site

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Tahoe Daily Tribune Updated Feb 3, 2012 12:47PM Published Feb 3, 2012 12:45PM Copyright 2012 Tahoe Daily Tribune. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.