Unexpectedly Delicious: Blood Orange


How is a blood orange different from a regular orange you might ask…What is so special about its deep crimson pulp? The answer is in no way gruesome! In fact, the deep crimson pigments that are reminiscent of blood actually give blood oranges further health benefits!

Blood oranges are a result of a natural mutation of the orange and are thought to have originated in China or the Southern Mediterranean. Today, this is the most common variety of orange that is grown in Italy. In the United States, blood oranges are in season from December to May depending on what region they are grown. The characteristic rich maroon colour develops during the lower temperatures at night. It is not only the colour that is unique from a regular orange, a blood orange is distinctly sweeter and has subtle raspberry notes in its taste profile.

Why should you eat them?                                                                                             

Blood oranges contain an impressive concentration of anthocyanins – the flavonoid pigment responsible for both the red and maroon colours of the fruits flesh as well as its potent antioxidant health benefits. Anthocyanins help to eliminate free radicals that increase cancer risk. Research shows that anthocyanin activity may work to inhibit the growth of malignant cancer cells by protecting healthy body cells from environmental damage from pollution, smoke, toxins, as well as stress and aging. Blood oranges are wonderful sources of vitamin C – another powerful antioxidant that promotes healthy immune function.  Vitamin C is essential to healthy collagen production for maintain skin, gums, cartilage and bones.

Nutrition value of 1 medium blood orange:

  • 3 g of dietary fibre!
  • Over 100% of your daily intake of vitamin C
  • Over 20% of your daily folate requirements
  • A good source of potassium
  • High in health beneficial antioxidants (i.e. anthocyanins)

The wonders of how to enjoy them:

The blood orange may be more difficult to peel than a regular orange; therefore, having an orange peeling tool will help with its preparation. To prolong shelf-life of blood oranges, store in the fridge versus in the fruit bowl.

Recipe Ideas:

  • Blood Orange Scones
  • Blood Orange Lemonade
  • Blood Orange and Spinach Salad
  • Roasted Red Cabbage with Blood Orange and Feta
  • Blood Orange Baked Salmon
  • Blood Orange Glazed Chicken (in this month’s newsletter)
  • Blood Orange Chia Pudding
  • Blood Orange Cheesecake
  • Golden Beet and Blood Orange Citrus Salad

Did you know that…

The impressive vitamin C (a.k.a. ascorbic acid) content of blood oranges improve the body’s ability to absorb iron from plant sources (a.k.a non-heme iron) in the intestinal tract. When the ascorbic acid combines with non-heme iron, the structure and pH of the iron changes into a form that is more easily absorbed by the cells lining the small intestine.  On your plate, add some sections of a blood orange to your leafy green salad or legume dish. The blood orange will help your body unleash the non-heme iron from plant foods like greens and legumes into your blood stream!