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Chinotto oranges are small citrus fruits that grow in dense clusters, leaving small indentations on the shoulders of each orange. Chinotto oranges have a rough, medium-thick rind that is relatively easy to peel. The flesh is fibrous and considerably seedy, with a moderate juice content. They have a medium acidity that increases as the temperatures drop over the course of the winter. The sweetness is offset by oils from the pith and skin of the Chinotto oranges that can leave a tingling sensation on the tongue and lips.
Chinotto oranges are available in the mid-winter to spring.
Chinotto oranges (pronounced kin-o-toe), or Citrus myrtifolia Rafinesque, are also known as myrtle-leaf oranges because of the orange plant’s resemblance to the myrtle tree. They are a type of sour orange, a fruit distinguishable from the more well-known sweet orange by its sour or bitter flavor; other sour oranges include Seville and Bergamot. Chinotto orange trees are most often grown as ornamentals, but the fruit is edible though sour. Four varieties of Chinotto orange are grown—boxwood leaved, crinkle leaved, large, and dwarf.
Chinotto oranges contain approximately 100 percent of the daily recommended value of Vitamin C, along with nutrients like fiber and folate, and are low in calories.
Chinotto oranges are not typically eaten raw, but instead are often used in marmalade or jams because of their high pectin content. They are also candied whole and eaten as a dessert. Most famously, Chinottos are the flavoring behind a popular Italian soda of the same name. They can be used in marinades, chutneys, and teas, or substituted for other sour oranges, such as the seville. Store Chinotto oranges in the vegetable bin in the refrigerator for up to a month, or at room temperature for a week.
Sour orange flavoring, including Chinotto, is especially popular in the Mediterranean region and the Middle East, where it is sometimes used to flavor dishes much like lemon zest is used in the United States. Sour oranges have a variety of non-food applications, including perfumes, soaps, and aromatherapy.
Sour oranges come from northwest India and southeast China and were brought westward to the Mediterranean region by Christian Crusaders and Arabs. The name Chinotto denotes a Chinese origin for this particular sour orange. They are produced commercially primarily in Liguria, Italy, but can be found ornamentally in the United States.
Recipes that include Chinotto Oranges. One is easiest, three is harder.
|Stirred Not Shaken||Chinotto Rock 'n' Rye|
|Chickadee Homestead||Homemade Orange Jam|