Blood oranges are a variety of citrus that feature a slightly less acidic flavor profile than most varieties of orange. What makes them stand out is the vivid crimson color of the flesh. Presented here is a slew of simple ideas and tasty ways to use blood oranges, plus links to recipes.
What gives blood oranges their interior color is a substance that’s common to other fruits and flowers, but rare in the citrus family. The vivid color sometimes reveals itself on the rind as well, giving a hint to what’s inside.
Though blood oranges seem like a nifty contemporary fruit, they’ve actually been around since the 18th century, where they emerged as a citrus hybrid in the southern Mediterranean, especially parts of Italy and Spain. There are several varieties within this type of orange, including Moro, Sanguinello, and Tarocco.
Like other citrus fruits, blood oranges are in season during the colder months. They’re a good source of vitamin C and fiber. What gives them their color is a natural antioxidant. See their complete nutritional profile here.
Look for blood oranges in the fall and winter at your local markets. If you can’t find them near you, Melissa’s Produce is a good source for blood oranges — and a slew of recipes.
Aside from slicing and eating out of hand, blood oranges make a wonderful addition to many types of recipes, both for their flavor and color.
Refreshing blood orange beverages
Blood orange juice, mixed or straight up: Simply cut blood oranges in half and squeeze. Use them on their own or mix with other types of juicy oranges.
In flat or sparkling water: Add a few slices of blood orange to cold filtered water or sparkling water for a subtle citrus flavor and visual treat.
Blood orange lemonade: Combine freshly squeezed blood oranges with lemon juice and water; sweeten with a little apple juice concentrate or stevia.
Blood orange and cranberry tea: Cranberry-orange has always been a classic flavor pairing, and it’s a duo that works well in bracing beverages. Try this Blood Orange Cranberry Fall Spiced Sangria.
Blood orange smoothies and smoothie bowls: There are so many ways to use blood oranges in smoothies and smoothie bowls. Here are a few dairy-free recipes:
- Blood Orange Creamsicle Smoothie
- Blood Orange Green Smoothie
- Blood Orange Berry Smoothie
- Cranberry Orange Smoothie Bowl
Blood Orange Cocktails
Blood orange mimosas: The simplest mimosas are a combination of orange juice and a dry sparkling wine, sometimes with a small amount of orange-flavored liqueur like Grand Marnier. Try swapping in blood orange juice for ordinary juice for a more dramatic effect, as in this recipe.
Blood orange margaritas: This offbeat margarita will wow your guests. Here’s a straightforward recipe for blood orange margaritas from a popular Dallas restaurant.
Blood orange Jams, marmalades, and sauces
Blood orange cranberry sauces: Here’ a classic Blood Orange Cranberry Sauce recipe, perfect for Thanksgiving dinner and other late fall/early winter meals.
Blood orange marmalades, jams, and chutneys: So many ways to incorporate blood orange into preserves! Here are just a few:
- Easy Blood Orange Marmalade (no canning skills needed)
- Blood Orange Jam Recipe
- Spicy Blood Orange Chutney
Blood orange sauce, straight up: Simply combine peeled, thinly sliced blood orange with maple syrup or agave to taste; let stand for a half hour or so, then drain any liquid that may have formed. Use as a topping for pancakes, waffles, and crepes.
Bowls and salads using blood oranges
Sicialian Orange Salad: One of the most famous ways to uses for this distinctive orange is Sicilian Winter Salad. It combines sliced blood orange, sliced red onion and/or fennel and olives, dressed in olive oil. There are several ways to vary the salad. Try this one — Sicilian Blood Orange, Fennel, Red Onion, and Mint Salad.
Mixed greens with blood oranges: Keep it simple with mixed baby greens, a few slices of peeled blood orange, and a drizzle of good olive oil or a vinaigrette dressing. Optional — scatter some pistachios or other nuts of your choice over the salad.
Buddha bowls: You really don’t need a recipe to create beautiful Buddha bowls, as noted in this roundup of tasty ideas. Of course, blood oranges are a welcome addition to these composed salads.
Blood orange desserts
Cake ingredient and topper: Arranging thinly sliced blood oranges as the bottom layer of cake batter before baking to create a stunning visual effect. See this recipe, contributed by Hannah Kaminsky, for Vegan Blood Orange Upside-Down Cake.
Blood orange popsicles: An array of easy recipes to refresh you:
Blood orange granita: Here’s a refreshing, icy way to enjoy blood orange juice. Try this recipe for Blood Orange Granita.
And don’t forget, you can use their grated zest (skin), as you would that of other oranges, though it’s best to use organic oranges if you’ll be zesting them.
That’s it for this bountiful roundup of ideas for how to use blood oranges. If you have any favorite ways to use this gorgeous orange, comment below!
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