Sweet Winter Citrus: Blood Orange Sorbet

Blood Orange Sorbet
 It might seem crazy to be writing about sorbet in the middle of winter, but since it's the season for blood oranges and we haven't even seen winter this year, I think I've got good reason.

Usually, by January, I've seen my fair share of rain--and chilly temperatures--but this year, we've scarcely had even a few rain drops. So, instead of spending the majority of my time in my warm kitchen, I've been spending my time in the warm weather dragging my hose around the backyard. While I'm still holding out hope for a late rainy season, in the meantime, I've decided to throw myself into this strangely summertime weather and enjoy coming up with a few seasonably unseasonable delicacies.

One of my favorite things about this time of the year is the bounty of winter citrus. That may sound like an oxymoron--winter citrus--but there are so many varieties of citrus, each with its own particular season that fresh citrus is available all year long. For me, the winter citrus are my favorite, mostly because of their obscurity, but equally for their uniqueness.

Topping the list is the blood orange. First grown in Sicily and throughout Spain, there are several varieties of the blood orange, some barely tinted, while others are deeply crimson and magenta. The color is determined by a number of factors, including the type of orange and the growing conditions, but most notably by anthocyanin--a water-soluble pigment that can appear as red, blue, or even purple. So, the same pigment responsible for giving the blood orange its blood red hue is also responsible for the red in cherries, blue in blueberries and even the purple in cabbage and eggplant. Additionally, anthocyanin is a powerful antioxidant associated with a high level of flavonoids, which means more than just adding a pretty tint to fruits and vegetables--colorful fruits and vegetables can slow the growth of cancer, reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease, lower blood pressure and even make you feel happier and more positive about life. Plus, they contain loads of vitamin C--one blood orange can have up to 130% of your daily requirement--potassium and Vitamin A.

Blood oranges have a lot going for them when it comes to upping the nutritional ante and while I'm thrilled about all of the health benefits, I most love them because of their violently crimson flesh--cutting into them is like taking a crash course in horror film special effects, which in my book translates to having a little fun in the kitchen. Usually, I peel them and use them in salads, but with the warmer weather, I decided to make sorbet. This recipe is ridiculously simple and ever so delicious. If you happen to live somewhere where it really is winter, I urge you to turn up the furnace, put on your woolens, and make this anyway; it's just too tasty to pass up, even in the midst of a blizzard!

Blood Orange Sorbet
2 cups of freshly squeezed blood orange juice, pulp and all
1/2 cup of sugar

1. Put juice and sugar in a non-reactive saucepan over medium heat and cook until sugar just dissolves.
2. Turn up heat and boil for 1 minute, then remove from heat and cool.
3. When mixture is cool, pour into a shallow baking pan, cover with foil and put in the freezer until frozen.
4. Process in the food processor to achieve a smooth consistency, then transfer to an air tight container and freeze.
5. Allow to thaw just slightly before serving.

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