What Exactly Is a Blood Orange?

Use or lose this ephemeral fruit.

Murder! Intrigue! Citrus!

Fortunately, only two of the above apply here. There are no sacrifices necessary to give an orange its “blood.” This fruit’s deep ruby flesh comes from anthocyanin, a powerhouse antioxidant that also gives raspberries and blueberries their vibrant hues.

Yet blood, or sanguine, oranges also vary from their navel brethren in flavor. This delicacy, believed to originate in Sicily, falls somewhere between oranges and grapefruits – still sweet, only less acidic and accompanied by some pucker. Their taste has been compared to grapes, blackberries, cherries, and raspberries, but the only way to truly experience the flavor is to taste one.

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They make a striking addition to any salad, jam, or salsa, and can even be incorporated into baked goods. A glass of freshly squeezed juice is a refreshing indulgence in the morning or a first step towards a revolutionary margarita.

These oranges appear in markets for a fashionable three months a year (typically, January through March-ish) so keep your eyes peeled. Good candidates are those that feel firm and weigh more than expected.


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