Blood oranges are, as the name suggests, a variety of orange. They are so called because their flesh is a dark red, blood-like colour. This colour is caused by the same pigment that gives you red and purple vegetables, anthocyanin.
I adore blood oranges which tend to be a touch sweeter than regular oranges, with hints of raspberry and with also a touch of bitter. They also have a deeper aroma.
It is believed that blood oranges are a natural mutation of the pomelo and the tangerine, and has been growing in the Mediterranean region since the 18th century.
In order for the flesh of the blood orange to turn red, the fruit must experience a low night time temperature of about -1ºC for at least an hour or two. And since Mediterranean autumns and winter do see a massive swing between day and night, this is the perfect climate for them to thrive in.
Types of Blood Oranges
There are 3 different varieties: Tarocco, Moro and Sanguinello. They have a fairly short season of just 2-3 months, apart from Tarocco, whose season is December to May.
Moro, with its slightly bitter aftertaste, is my favourite blood orange of all. Its skin turns a deep, dark red too, as it ripens in the kitchen, which makes for an eye catching fruit basket!
Here in the UK, we start seeing them in December in select stores, which is great for all that festive cooking I do, both for work and for entertainment. But it’s really only in January and February that we get to enjoy them best, when they start appearing almost everywhere.
Blood Orange Recipes
There are so many ways you can use blood oranges, in savoury, sweet and drink recipes. If you are a Triple Sec drinker, you might be interested to get your hands on a bottle of Blood Orange Cointreau, as in the image above. I do a review of it here.
Here are some of the ways I’ve used these delightful fruit on LinsFood:
How to Use Blood Oranges
- 1 blood orange
- Using a sharp knife, slice off the orange peel. Best way to do this is to place the orange flat on your chopping board. Then, starting from the top, slice down thinly.
- Then, either slice them in rings or in cubes to add to the salad recipes on this page.
- If adding to a drink, keep a couple of slices per person, then squeeze the rest out for the juice.