Oh, for the Love of Citrus! Two newer varieties showing up in commercial nurseries…
Translated it’s “Vanilla Blood” and it does have a slight vanilla taste that makes this Blood worth a look (and taste). This is an acidless blood orange and is entirely different from any citrus I’ve tasted! I had my first bite last month at International Garden Center in El Segundo, California. Nursery manager, Deno Soria explained that over the last couple of years the Vanilla Blood was just beginning to be introduced more widely to the commercial market here. Lucky us!
Having slightly smaller fruit than the other Bloods, larger seeds, a thinner rind and a lighter reddish pink interior, many thought this variety would be slow to ‘catch on’ with we home growers….until we tasted it! They are strongly addicting. This is unfortunate because you can’t get them in the markets, so you’re just going to have to grow yourself, but we’re up for that, right? Strictly speaking, it isn’t a true blood orange. It’s coloring agent is lycopene, instead of anthocyanins found in most oranges. Lycopene is what gives grapefruits and Cara Cara Orange, the pink navel variety their color.
That day in the nursery, Deno only gave me one off the little tree, but I can honestly tell you that I was tempted to sneak back for more! The wonderful thing about the Vaniglia Sanguigno is that the fruit can ripen as early as fall in climates with mild winters and warm summers. They can also hold nicely on the tree well into spring and on the counter forever.
Palestine Sweet Lime
Deno introduced me to this wonder that same day. “Sweet Lime” has a sweet (edible) as opposed to a sour rind. It is of Middle Eastern derivation, hence the name. This variety’s fruit will turn deep gold, almost light orange when fully ripe. The grower reports that, like the Vanilla Blood, it also can hold on the counter for a couple of months after picking. In fact, it will become even sweeter and more flavorful. This variety can bear very heavily so be ready with your recipes! In the garden, it tends towards a spreading habit so plan accordingly.
Sweet limes aren’t true limes at all, but occupies a strange no-man’s land of a hybrid grouping that is from the coupling of a sour orange with a citron. It does tolerate a light freeze. A delicious and pucker-free bite told me that I’d found two more stars for my cocktail garden list! http://www.citrusvariety.ucr.edu/citrus/palestine.html
If you need a general primer on the care and feeding of citrus (or anything in your backyard orchard), check out
West Virginia University’s HOME ORCHARD MANAGEMENT
University of Arizona’s HOME ORCHARD CARE FOR MASTER GARDENERS
New Mexico State University’s PRUNING THE HOME ORCHARD