Long popular in Italy and Spain, these ruby-hued oranges are now being cultivated in Texas and California. Available from December to April, blood oranges are often both sweeter and less tart than other types of oranges, with a pleasantly bitter edge. Some people say they can even detect a hint of raspberry flavor.
Blood Orange Facts:
Harvesting blood oranges in the winter, when they are at the peak of ripeness, ensures that they are highest in anthocyanins, the compound that gives them their vivid blood-red color. Anthocyanins are thought to help stave off heart disease and cancer, as well protect eye health. Blood oranges are also an excellent source of fiber and Vitamin C.
Choose firm oranges that are heavy for their size and store for a week at room temperature, or up to two weeks in the refrigerator.
What to Do with Blood Oranges:
Try substituting blood oranges for other types of citrus, including grapefruit or navel oranges, in any of your favorite recipes. Because of their crimson hue, blood oranges make a beautiful addition to winter salads and pair particularly well with spicy or bitter greens. A traditional Sicilian salad combines blood oranges with thinly sliced fennel, arugula and extra-virgin olive oil. They’re also tasty in salsa, or in cooked sauces for meat or poultry. Because of its brilliant color and flavor, blood orange juice is a popular ingredient in cocktails. For a refreshing, buzz-free spritzer, you can simply mix the juice with sparkling water and a dash of orange bitters. For an easy, healthy dessert with wow-factor, use blood oranges to make granita or sorbet. Here are some recipes to try:
Abigail Chipley is a freelance recipe developer, writer and cooking teacher who lives in Portland, Oregon.
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