Blood orange is a cultivar of Citrus sinensis. It has a blood-red colour of flesh and juice and is sweet and juicy. The colour comes from anthocyanin pigments, not carotene.
Anthocyanins are a family of antioxidant pigments common to many flowers and fruit, but uncommon in citrus fruits.
Blood oranges are small to medium sized fruits with smooth to pitted skin, sometimes tinged red. The skin can be tougher and harder to peel than that of other oranges.
Blood oranges have a unique flavour and have been described as being distinctly raspberry-like in addition to the usual citrus notes.
The three most common cultivars of blood oranges are the Tarocco (native to Italy), the Sanguinello (native to Spain), and the Moro, the newest variety of the three. Others include: Washington Sanguine, Ruby Blood, Red Valencia, Burris blood Valencia orange and Maltese just to mention a few. Maltese is the sweetest.
Blood oranges are a source of vitamin C like all citrus fruits. They may also be juiced or eaten, made into marmalade or used in baking, making sorbet, gelato or salad.
Blood oranges are mostly imported from Mediterranean countries.
Season: March through May
Last Updated: February 1, 2018