Cara Cara Oranges
Inventory, 40 lbs : 16.18
This item was last sold on : 12/07/23
Cara Cara oranges are a medium to large varietal, averaging 7 to 10 centimeters in diameter, and have a uniform, round, to slightly oval shape. The rind is semi-thin but tough, clinging tightly to the flesh, and has a glossy, pebbled appearance created from the presence of tiny, pitted oil glands on the surface. Cara Cara orange rinds also ripen from green to bright orange with maturity. There is little to no pith underneath the rind, and the pith has an airy, spongy texture, adhered tightly to the flesh. The pigmented flesh ranges in variegated red, pink, and orange-red hues and is divided into 10 to 11 segments by thin, white membranes. Much of the orange's flesh color is determined by growing conditions and temperature during cultivation. The flesh is also dense, aqueous, and seedless, with a soft, tender, and succulent consistency. Look for Cara Cara oranges that feel heavy for their size, as heaviness indicates juice content, and the flesh is generally juice-saturated when ripe. The variety is aromatic and has high sugar mixed with low acidity, creating a complex, sweet, and tangy flavor with floral and fruity nuances of rose, raspberry, cranberry, and blackberry.
Cara Cara oranges are available in the early winter through spring.
Cara Cara oranges, botanically classified as Citrus sinensis, are a specialty citrus belonging to the Rutaceae family. The variety grows on evergreen trees reaching 3 to 6 meters in height and was discovered as a natural mutation of a Washington Navel orange in Venezuela in the late 20th century. After its release commercially, Cara Cara oranges quickly spread to citrus-growing regions worldwide, highly favored for their unique flesh coloring. Consumers also select Cara Cara oranges for their low acidity and berry-like flavor, leading the variety to acquire several other names, including Pink Navel, Red Navel, Red orange, Red-Flesh Navel orange, and Naranjas Cara Cara. In the modern day, Cara Cara oranges are heavily promoted by retailers, distributors, and growers throughout the citrus season, and chefs and home cooks choose the variety as a fresh eating and cooked orange.
Cara Cara oranges are a source of vitamin A to maintain healthy organ functioning, vitamin C to strengthen the immune system while reducing inflammation, and fiber to regulate the digestive tract. The variety also provides folate to produce RNA and DNA, potassium to balance fluid levels within the body, and other nutrients, including calcium, manganese, phosphorus, zinc, copper, and iron. The fruit's red-pink flesh is created by the presence of the carotenoid lycopene, a natural compound and pigment with antioxidant-like properties to protect the cells against oxidative stress and the damage caused by free radicals.
Cara Cara oranges have a sweet-tart, berry-like flavor suited for fresh and cooked preparations. The fruits are popularly eaten straight out of hand and are valued for their unusual coloring, fleshy nature, and fruity and floral taste. Cara Cara oranges can be segmented and tossed into salads, added to grain bowls, mixed into fruit medleys, or used as a topping over breakfast dishes such as overnight oats, smoothie bowls, pancakes, and parfaits. The oranges can also be dipped in chocolate and served as a sweet dessert, chopped into dips and salsas, or infused into olive oils or vinaigrettes. In addition to fresh preparations, Cara Cara oranges are commonly simmered into jams, jellies, and marmalades, cooked into sauces and glazes for roasted meats, or used to flavor simple syrups. The variety can also be incorporated into baked goods such as cookies, cakes, tarts, and muffins, or the juice and zest can be mixed into cocktails, smoothies, and sparkling beverages. Cara Cara oranges pair well with herbs such as lavender, mint, cilantro, and parsley, meats such as poultry, roast beef, and fish, seafood, aromatics including red onion, shallots, garlic, and ginger, and fruits such as cranberry, pear, pomegranate, and raspberries. Whole, unwashed Cara Cara oranges will keep for 3 to 4 days at room temperature and up to two weeks when stored in the refrigerator. The juice can also be frozen in an airtight container for up to six months.
Cara Cara oranges were named after the family estate where they were initially discovered in Venezuela. The property, Hacienda Cara Cara, was located in the municipality of San Diego, a region just north of the capital city of Valencia in the state of Carabobo. Historically, Valencia has been referred to as the city of oranges among Venezuelans, and the land surrounding the city is deeply rooted in agriculture, especially citrus cultivation. Hacienda Cara Cara was purchased by Don Miguel Gimenez Fumero in 1936. Initially, the family built a residence and chose to raise cattle for milk production. As unfavorable policies were enacted that hurt the mild industry, Gimenez was later convinced by his son to sell his cattle and plant orange trees. Gimenez eventually planted an orchard, and the family continued to cultivate the trees as a source of revenue. In 1950, a branch of a Washington Navel orange tree, also known as a California Navel, was found producing fruits with red interiors and red-brown bark on the property of Hacienda Cara Cara. Though the fruits were recognized as a possible new variety among the growers, the red oranges were not promoted for several years until professor Juan de Dios Holquist and Dr. Ary Salibe visited the farm in 1972 and began sharing news of the fruits with the rest of the world in 1976.
Cara Cara oranges are native to Venezuela and were discovered growing as a natural mutation on a Washington Navel orange tree in the late 20th century. The tree was found on the property of the Gimenez Torres family, known as Hacienda Cara Cara, located in the San Diego municipality within the state of Carabobo in Venezuela. After its discovery, budwood from Cara Cara oranges was sent to Florida in 1988 and was planted in Winter Haven through the Budwood Registration Program. The variety was evaluated and tested for several years until it was approved for cultivation throughout the United States, later being planted in California and Texas. Despite their introduction in the 1980s, Cara Cara oranges have only recently become popular due to exposure via social media platforms showcasing their vibrant flesh coloring. Cara Cara oranges were also sent to Spain in 1988, where they were widely planted throughout citrus production regions, especially in the municipality of Tavernes de la Valldigna. Today Cara Cara oranges are grown for commercial production worldwide and are sold domestically and exported. The variety is prevalent in orchards in North America, South America, South Africa, Europe, Asia, and Australia.
Restaurants currently purchasing this product as an ingredient for their menu.
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Recipes that include Cara Cara Oranges. One is easiest, three is harder.