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Bergamot oranges have the initial appearance of a lemon. They are semi-ovate with a lemon-kissed, smooth and pebbled exterior and translucent yellow flesh with the same signature cottony pith of a lemon. The rind is very aromatic and full of essential oils. The flesh is fragrant, with both floral and citrus notes. The flavor is acidic and tart, making the Bergamot orange unsuitable as a fresh-eating orange variety.
The Bergamot orange is available in early fall into winter.
The Bergamot orange is a hybrid of a sour orange variety and a citron variety. There are several other common names given to the Bergamot oranges that are grown in Italy: Castagnaro, Fantastico, and Femminello. Bergamot oranges are cultivated for processing primarily for their essential oil and is main ingredient in many perfumes and colognes.
Bergamot orange contains high levels of vitamin C, potassium, vitamins B1, B2 and A.
Bergamot oranges require some creative culinary thinking. Their aroma a clear indication, though, they they can be used for infusing enhancement. They are commonly used as a principle ingredient to flavor Earl Grey tea. The zest and juice used for syrups, flavored sugars or salts, cocktails and jams. The juice and zest can be used to flavor cookies, cakes, yogurts and custards. Bergamot oranges pair well with other citrus, seafood, ricotta, mild salad greens, avocado and fresh herbs such as dill, basil and tarragon. Bergamot oranges will keep up to two weeks in the refrigerator.
Bergamot oranges gets its name from the Italian city of Bergamo. There are also sources that its name may have been derived from the Turkish word 'begarmudi,' meaning "prince of pears." The first recorded reference to the use of Bergamot oranges was in 1824 for flavoring poor quality tea. Now it is a standard ingredient in Earl Grey tea.
The first documentation of the Bergamot orange can be traced back as far as 1708. It has been a common orange cultivar in the Mediterranean, specifically Italy, where it was first discovered as a seedling. Italy produces more Bergamot oranges than anywhere else in the world. The fruit is specifically cultivated for its oily rind and commercial production is limited primarily to Calabria (Italy) as this is the only known growing region where fruits do not produce varied qualities of essential oils in their peels.
Recipes that include Bergamot Oranges. One is easiest, three is harder.
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