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“I’m not a vampire. What is a blood orange?”

blood orange

I love grapefruit, especially when it is ruby red and doesn’t need a sprinkle of sugar. So Yummy, I just love it!

Recently someone asked me, while I was cutting into my grapefruit, if I was eating a blood orange.
I thought to myself, “I’m not a vampire. What is a blood orange?

Michelle at Bleeding Expresso did a wonderful job helping me reduce my produce ignorance regarding Blood Oranges.

“As the name suggests, blood oranges are red in color, sometimes in splotches on the outside but definitely on the inside. The concentration of the red inside depends on the particular type of orange and growing conditions. Squeezing them is when you truly understand where the “blood” reference comes from: the juice resembles the ruby red of a cranberry as opposed to the yellowish tone of orange juice.

Where does the red color come from?

Blood oranges are ‘bloody’ from a pigment called anthocyanin, which is widely found in the plant kingdom and can appear red as in cherries and red cabbage to blue as in blueberries and cornflowers or even purple as in pansies and eggplants (aubergines). Anthocyanin is reported to have many health benefits as it is a powerful antioxidant that can slow or prevent the growth of cancer cells–and even kill them. Moreover, blood oranges contain high amounts of Vitamin C (up to 130% of recommended daily amount), potassium, Vitamin A, iron, calcium, and even fiber. Oranges and their juice can also help prevent the build-up of bad cholesterol as well as lower the risk of heart disease, high blood pressure, stroke, and cataracts.”

So when is the best time to get this vibrantly colored fruit?

The writers at Healthy Eating say that “blood oranges are in season from December through May, though the exact months vary depending on what type of blood orange you’re buying. The Moro variety is available from December through March, while the Tarocco is available from January through May. Blood oranges are readily available during these winter and spring months because the climate where the fruit trees grow plays a role in the formation of the red hue, according to the National Gardening Association.”

I remember shopping at the store for grapefruit and saw some oranges that looked darker than others. They may have been blood oranges. I do wonder if some are sweeter than others, depending on where they are grown or their outside color? Molly Watson at The Spruce says, “It’s true! There are several varieties of blood oranges. The most famous is the Sicilian red orange, which is grown only in Sicily.” (Never go against a Sicilian when blood oranges are on the line, Ha Ha!)

“Other common varieties include:
-Moro, a deeply red-colored and slightly bitter orange
-Ruby Blood, which, despite its name, often isn’t very red inside
-Sanguinello, popular in Spain, which is a sweet orange with red streaks and few seeds
-Tarocco, very sweet and easy to peel, but with unreliably red flesh

Other varieties of blood orange include Burris, Delfino, Khanpur, Red Valencia, Sanguina Doble Fina, Washington Sanguine, and Vaccaro. You won’t often confront a choice at the market, so the marginal differences between the varietals aren’t something to get hung up on, but it’s good to know that some varieties are simply less likely to be all that red.”

Wonderful! So when I get my order of blood oranges, what am I going to do next?

Personally, I love smoothies so I’m going to try this Blood Orange & Strawberry Smoothie.
But wait, this Blood Orange Chicken looks good too!
Oh My! These ideas and others from Julie R. Thompson at the Huffington Post also look fun to try.
– Blood Orange Croissants
– Blood Orange Sugared Scone
– Glazed Salmon with Blood Orange Salsa
– Beet, Blood Orange, Kumquat, and Quinoa Salad
– Blood Orange Bundt Cake
– Seared Scallops with Blood Orange Salsa
– Moroccan Orange Dessert
– Blood Orange Sorbet

Have fun storming the kitchen to Eat, Live & GoFresh!

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