The blood orange is a kind of orange with a deep scarlet color on the inside. The skin pigment on the outside is also darker. They usually mature mid-season and are deeply juicy and sweet flavoured. These kinds of oranges are typically smaller than an average orange.
It is believed that blood oranges are crosses between pomegranates and oranges. This is untrue. Blood oranges are simply oranges that at some point underwent a genetic mutation and turned into the noble, virile fruits that you see today.
Many delicious recipes can be created with these yummy fruits.
Why are Blood Oranges Red?
Blood oranges are a special variety of orange, and as such folks are surprised when they cut this orange and see the profound deep-crimson color within. Some people, when they see a blood orange, sometimes ask the question: “How do you make oranges that color?”
There’s a story of a man who bought blood oranges without telling his wife. When she cut the oranges and gazed at the bloody depths inside, she was very disturbed; she thought that the orange was afflicted with some kind of deadly, contagious virus. To this day, this kind of thing still happens from time to time, and people who are unfamiliar with the blood orange will sometimes throw it away, believing it’s a spoiled orange.
Please don’t do that. Blood oranges are not GMO oranges or anything like that. They exist in nature and in many varieties. Blood oranges have this unique color because they carry anthocyanins, which are powerful flavonoid pigments that exist in red and purple fruits and vegetables. These flavonoid pigments can protect the human body from many diseases and are very beneficial to human health. Anthocyanins are uncommon in citrus fruits, with the blood orange being one of the exceptions.
Health Benefits of Blood Oranges
Blood oranges contain vitamin C, folic acid, anthocyanins, calcium and Vitamin A, among other minerals and vitamins. They are rich in antioxidants and are a very good source of fiber. The levels of vitamin C are higher on these oranges compared to regular oranges. The blood orange is also known as the anti-aging orange.
For more information, read the Health Benefits of Blood Oranges page on this website.
There are three main types of blood oranges and several lesser ones. The most common ones are:
- Moro Blood Orange
- Tarocco Blood Orange
- Sanguinello Blood Orange
A medium sized blood orange has around 80 calories.
Season & Availability
Blood oranges are not always available. This is a winter fruit, and their availability is usually limited to the months of late December, January, February, March, April and early May. The Moro blood orange is sold from December to March and the Tarocco blood orange is available from January to May.