Blood Oranges


Season for Blood Oranges December – May


Blood Oranges Described

Some may be thrown off by their gory name. But nonetheless, blood oranges reign supreme among all citrus fruit, each bite the flavor of a less acidic, sweeter orange with berry notes, very often described as raspberry. The pigment that makes these oranges “bloody” comes from a health-promoting phytonutrientz called anthocyanins found in other red fruits and flowers. The color of a blood orange’s flesh can vary from pink to burgundy and depending on the variety the outside may also have dark washes of red, a sunset-like exterior.You’re most likely to come across the Tarocco, the Moro and the Sanguigno blood orange. 


How to Buy and Store Blood Oranges

Blood oranges tend to be slightly smaller than other sweet oranges. Pick those that are firm to the touch and heavy for their size, which means they’ll be full of juice. Keep in mind that in the case of oranges, small green and brown areas on the skin have no effect on flavor or quality. But you should avoid any fruits with mold or spongy spots. To keep these ruby gems fresh longer, you can store them in the refrigerator where they’ll stay good for up to two weeks. At room temperature, you should eat them within a couple of days.


How to Cook Blood Oranges

Blood oranges can be used much in the same way as orange oranges, with the addition of a brilliant splash of color wherever they go. They can be great for juicing and certainly add something fancy to cocktails. They can also be used to create marmalade, gelato, sorbet, granitas, compotes, salads, sauces and Italian soda. The zest works well in baking. A quintessential Sicilian winter salad is made with Tarocco blood orange segments, fennel, parsley and olive oil. Making your own vinaigrette with blood oranges is also an option, or using them to flavor your own home brew. Try our Grilled Endive with Blood Orange Vinaigrette


Health Benefits of Blood Oranges

Blood oranges, like all citrus fruits, are a great source of vitamin C, an average orange providing some 130% of the FDA’s recommended daily intake of this vitamin that’s absolutely vital to our health. It also provides 16% of the recommended daily intake of dietary fiber. Blood oranges are also a good source of folate, calcium and vitamin A. The anthocyanins that create the red pigment characteristic to blood oranges are antioxidants which gives this richly-colored fruit the power to diminish the risk of heart disease, some types of cancer, and LDL cholesterol accumulation. Additionally, they may also be able to reduce the risk of cataracts, and aid in the body’s healing process.


Why Buy Natural and Organic Blood Oranges

Oranges in general are known for sustaining a good (or scary?) amount of pesticide residues on their skins. And blood oranges are no exception, so we recommend organic oranges all around. A great place to shop for your organic blood oranges is the farmers market, as the varieties available in grocery stores are highly limited. An organic farmer can also help you pick out the juiciest specimens.

image: Derek Purdy