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Blood Oranges-An Unusual Fruit

Updated: Feb 11, 2023

Blood oranges are considered a winter fruit and the color of the fruit repulses some consumers. In the 1980's a woman that grew orange trees suspected neighbors of sabotaging the orange tree she grew. This happened because the oranges had a strange red pigment on the skin and fruit.

The woman called the police to investigate the situation and learned she was growing blood oranges. Many consumers make dishes from blood oranges on Valentine's Day because red is the symbol of love and romanticism. The fruit is ca natural mutant or hybrid fruit.

Brief History of the Blood Orange

Blood oranges were eaten in the 9th and 10th centuries when Arabs ruled Sicily. They were only served to royalty and the very wealthy. When they began to export the oranges to other countries, they brought a good price for their use. Blood oranges are grown in Italy, Spain, and in the United States California, Texas, and Florida.

Photo Credit: RCakesWalk Blog

Most Common Types of Blood Oranges Sold

Moro - This is the most common variety of blood orange. It has deep red purple flesh and a red rind. It has a thick skin and a berry like taste. It is seedless and tart.

Tarocco is a deep red sweet and tangy blood orange with a thin peel. It is known in Italy for its use in desserts. It is considered by chefs as one of the best oranges to use on the menu in cooking.

Sanguinello is a common blood orange that originated from Spain. It has red flesh and skin. It blooms later in the season from February to April. It is more prevalent in Europe.

A chemical found in blood oranges called anthocyanin is what make the oranges red. It is found in cherries and cranberries and is an antioxidant. The blood orange has fiber, Vitamin C, and potassium.

Common Facts About Blood Oranges

  • The red color develops while the orange grows at night in lower temperatures

  • It has a tough skin and is harder to peel

  • In Spain it was introduce in second half of the 19th century

  • It can be kept out of the refrigerator for about one week

  • It has fiber, Vitamin C, and potassium


The Juicy History of Blood Oranges, NPR. org. 2007 on All Things Considered

12 Things You Should Know About Blood Oranges by Jim Stonos, HCW, 2021

Photo Credit: Wikipedia

Blood Orange Recipes

Blood Orange Chicken

1 pound of boneless chicken thighs

3 blood oranges

2 tablespoons olive oil

1 tablespoon of soy sauce

1 tablespoon siracha sauce

1 teaspoon chili powder or paprika

Add 1 tablespoon of oil to the pan for cooking the chicken. Defrost the chicken and put aside. Cut two blood oranges in half and squeeze the halves into a bowl for the juice. Slice oranges into thin slices to put on top of chicken. Add 1 tablespoon of siracha sauce, soy sauce, and chili powder to the orange juice.

Arrange the chicken in the pan and pour juice mixture over the chicken. Place orange slices on top of the chicken and in pan. Heat the oven to 350 roast or bake chicken for 45 minutes to 1 hour. Serve with rice.

Blood Orange Fruit Salad

2 blood oranges peeled and sectioned

1/3 cup fresh cubed pineapple diced

1/4 cup feta cheese crumbled

1 tablespoon lime juice

1 tablespoon lemon juice


Peel the blood oranges and discard the peel. Separate the orange slices and put in a bowl or container. Cut the cubed pineapple and add with the oranges. Crumble or cut the feta cheese and add to the fruit salad. Add the lemon and lime juice mix well. Serve as a appetizer or dessert after the meal. Top with sour cream.

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