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How to Eat Blood Orange

Whether eaten straight from the peel or used in a favorite citrusy recipe, blood oranges are fruits with oomph. Many say that blood oranges taste like a juicy orange with flavors of tart cranberry and ripe raspberry, making for a uniquely jammy and bitter, red-fleshed citrus fruit. If you’re wondering how to eat a blood orange, your friends at FruitStand have got you covered!

If you’ve ever had a navel orange, blood oranges will seem pretty familiar. Just like a classic navel orange, blood oranges can be squeezed for a fresh morning juice, sliced into snacks, tossed into fruit and vegetable salads, and used as an ingredient in zillions of recipes for desserts and savory dishes. You peel a blood orange the same way and can zest the thin skin of its peel similar to other citrus fruits.

Blood oranges, however, have a much more tart and bitter flavor than your typical navel orange and are known for their sparkling red fruit. Blood oranges have lower acid than navel oranges, and taste more tart than sweet with a grapefruit-like bitterness. This makes blood oranges easy to use in food and drink recipes where you want delicately acidic citrus flavor and a dazzling flush of color. Their complex flavor and acidity works well in rich or spicy dishes, and can pair beautifully with proteins ranging from tofu to delicate fish, chicken, pork and even beef.

Typically seedless, blood oranges may have a few seeds from time to time. If you find a seed in your blood orange, spit it out or separate it from the fruit the same way you might for a navel orange or lemon.

Blood Oranges can be stored on the counter or the refrigerator. With fruit this special, we recommend storing your blood oranges in the refrigerator to keep them fresher for longer. Keep reading to learn about the different ways you can peel, prepare and eat a blood orange!

Peeling a Blood Orange

If you’ve ever handled a navel orange, you’re gonna nail it with a blood orange! Like other citrus fruits, blood orange peels are made of a thin layer of waxy skin that contains pores of zesty oil above an inedible pith. The white pith of a blood orange is thicker than many navel orange varieties and may require a little help from a sharp knife or citrus peeler for an easier start.

Still, removing the peel from blood oranges is easy, and here are a few of the simplest ways to peel a blood orange:

  • Using your thumb, gently apply pressure to the thick skin to puncture it down to the fruit. Gently pull back the pithy layer, sniffing deeply every time you rip a piece of peel away (it smells seriously good), until you’ve removed the entire rind.
  • Score around the entire circumference of the blood orange with a citrus peeler, beginning at the top of the fruit. Then, quarter turn the fruit in your hand and score it around the circumference again, making four equal sections of peel. Finally, shimmy the pointy end of the peeler under the skin between the pith and fruit of the blood orange and slide it down to easily peel back the rind. Remove the remaining sections of peel in the same way.
  • With a sharp knife, slice off the top ¼ inch of the peel to create a flat surface. Turn the fruit onto this flat surface so that blood the orange will not roll away. Beginning at the top of the orange and slicing down, carefully pare away the blood orange peel by cutting around the fruit to remove all visible pith. Finish by slicing off the remaining peel at the top of the fruit.

Slicing A Blood Orange

Before slicing an orange, decide whether you want to keep the peel intact or not. Even though blood orange peels are inedible, they make for a beautiful presentation and easy snack handling. Here are some of the easiest, most common ways of how to slice a blood orange:

  • Wedges: Cut the blood orange in half longways with a sharp knife. Then, slice each half in half twice more for eight orange slices.
  • Slices: Make beautiful rounds of blood orange to float in drinks or to top off delicate fish. Simply place the whole fruit, belly side down, onto the cutting board. With a sharp knife, slice the fruit as thick or thin as your recipe requires.

Zesting Blood Orange

If you’re lucky to have blood oranges on hand, take advantage of their precious peel! Blood orange peels contain flavorful essential oils that can be used in recipes calling for citrus zest. Just be sure to avoid the yucky white pith.

Use blood orange zest to top off avocado toast, make flavorful citrus salts, and add it to salads and drinks. Blood orange peel is a fancy addition to confections like candies and syrups, too.

  • Use a microplane for fine shreds of delicate zest.
  • Use a citrus peeler, zester, channel knife or paring knife to shave the thin blood orange peel away from the pith for thick curls and fine ribbons of zest.

Cooking Blood Orange

Reimagine any citrus recipe using blood oranges and you’ll be rewarded with a whole new citrus flavor experience. Blood orange is not as sweet or acidic as other orange varieties, so its flavor is quite complex among citrus fruits. When cooked into recipes, blood orange brightens up flavors with low acidity and imparts a tangy, cranberry like bitterness. Here are some of the best ways to cook blood orange:

  • Grilling: Late season blood oranges can be among the first fruits you grill come springtime! Slap some thick slices of blood orange on the grill to add caramelized citrus taste to grilled proteins.
  • Baking: blood orange can be baked into cakes, breads, creams and tarts.
  • Confection: The red berry flavor of the tart blood orange is delicious in jams, jellies and candy making.

Drinking Blood Orange

Blood orange is deliciously drinkable. The juice itself is delicious on its own or with other produce. Syrups, cocktails, enhanced waters, smoothies and sodas will feel upgraded with the addition of blood orange.

Here are some easy ways use blood orange in your drinks:

  • Juicing: Using a juice machine, citrus press, squeezing dish or one mighty hand, blood oranges are easy to juice. Blood orange tastes great when combined with other juices like strawberry, pear, carrot, ginger and basil.
  • Smoothies: Fresh or frozen blood orange is delicious in fruit, yogurt and green smoothies.
  • Cocktails: Juice and zest from blood orange make for festive and flavorful adult beverages.

As you can see, there’s no limit to the ways you can eat, drink and enjoy blood oranges. Sign up for the FruitStand newsletter to be the first to know when we’re shipping top quality blood oranges from our small farm partners!

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