Their name might sound scary, but blood oranges are nothing to be afraid of! In fact, these delicious and exotic citrus fruits are a relatively new species that came about from a natural genetic mutation. The fruit and juice of blood orange is prized for its rich, ruby red color and bitter, orange-meets-cranberry flavor.
Blood oranges are known to have originated in Sicily. Their distinctive color is the result of the presence of antioxidants called anthocyanins, which are usually found in red berries and not citrus fruits. This red color carries through to the blood orange’s peel, where flushes of pinkish red appear on their dark orange skin.
The complex and berrylike citrus flavor of blood oranges makes for a special juice on it’s own or combined with other fruits. Blood orange is loved as an ingredient by craft cocktail enthusiasts and foodies alike for its deep orangey red color and bitter sweet citrus flavor.
Keep reading to learn all about the exquisite blood orange!
Blood oranges are highly sought after citruses known for their ruby-colored fruit and jammy orange flavor. Alike in shape yet slightly smaller than navel orange, blood orange pulp is dark red with an orange peel that’s flushed with pink tones. They are less acidic than navel oranges, yet blood oranges have a cranberry-like tartness to their flavor, making them similar to grapefruits in their bitterness. Blood oranges taste similar to a juicy, bitter orange paired up with flavors of cranberry and raspberry.
If you’ve seen the blood orange meme, you’ve probably heard that their color is simply “red”. There’s so much more to it! A ripe blood orange has a deep orange peel that’s often flecked with red and pink hues. Inside, the dark crimson hue of blood orange fruit is the result of their richness in antioxidants known as anthocyanins.
The blood orange is often compared to a cara cara orange, but they are quite different. Flavor wise, blood orange is more like a grapefruit in its level of bitterness, which is offset with dark red berry flavors. On the other hand, cara cara is sweet like a navel orange, with a hint of strawberry flavor. For the fruit science fans out there, cara cara oranges have a pinkish-orange flesh resulting from lycopene, while blood oranges get their deep ruby color from anthocyanins.
Blood oranges and the zest of their peel can be enjoyed raw, in juices, cocktails and recipes of all kinds where citrusy bitterness is welcome. These may be adventurous for some little ones, but if you’re around kids who like grapefruit, there’s a good chance they’ll dig the blood orange too.
Blood oranges are native to Europe, particularly around the Mediterranean in Sicily and Spain. In the United States, blood oranges are cultivated primarily in California, Arizona, Texas and Florida.
The blood orange season ranges roughly from December through April. Like many other citrus fruits, the peak time for blood oranges is during the winter.
Whether a blood orange is certified organic or not will depend on the farm where it was grown. At FruitStand, we only partner with the best specialty farms for exceptional quality of produce. When each harvest is available, we'll tell you whether the fruit is considered organic or conventional.Still curious about blood orange? Check out our FAQ to learn even more about these juicy gems and share your experiences with us on Instagram @Fruitstandcom.