Blood Oranges

An ode to blood oranges and a list of links to wonderful blood orange recipes.

Photography Credit: Elise Bauer

Those of you who love blood oranges don’t need to be told how exquisitely wonderful they are. In the kingdom of citrus, blood oranges are royalty. You know that every bite is an explosion of sweet, deep orange flavor, with hints of raspberry.

I wish there were more of you, then growers would grow more, and blood oranges would be easier for everyone to get their hands on.

The problem is, I’m convinced, the name. “Blood” oranges. The shock of cutting into a blood orange for the first time and not seeing the familiar orange, but vivid garnet red, which if perfectly ripe drips its blood colored juices everywhere, is just too much for many of us. It looks like blood. Why in the world would we want to eat a fruit that reminds us of blood?

If however, the marketing powers that be renamed the blood orange “Sangria Orange”, then there would be no issue. Sangria comes from the word “sangre” which means “blood” in Spanish, but most English speakers don’t know that; to most of us sangria is simply a red wine drink spiced with oranges. Instead of conjuring up images of some poor animal freshly slaughtered we would think happy thoughts of festive Sangria. We would imagine this orange to be the color of red wine, not blood. Renaming a fruit has been done before. Some marketing board in New Zealand came up with the idea of promoting Chinese gooseberries as kiwifruit. And now kiwifruit are so popular around the world the word kiwi is even a color, kiwi green.

We have a blood orange tree that my parents planted 5 years ago and is now this year, for the first time, bearing fruit. The tree is heavy with blood oranges. I’ve been experimenting with them a little, making salads, but I’ve come to the conclusion that, at least for the blood oranges from our tree, the best way to eat them is just to eat them. Slice them, peel on, and eat them. The flavor is so good, they just don’t need a thing.

If you’ve never had a blood orange, or have shied away from them because of the name, think “Sangria” and get yourself to a store that carries them like Whole Foods. You will be delighted by them.

If you are interested in what kinds of recipes would work with blood oranges, check out the following from other food bloggers:

If you make this recipe, snap a pic and hashtag it #simplyrecipes — We love to see your creations on Instagram, Facebook, & Twitter!

Showing 4 of 78 Comments

  • Nadejda

    Hahaha, I love the idea of Sangria Oranges! HornCologne is right, Europeans think differently of food. Our French exchange student in a game in her ASL class was to come up with names for food items starting with random letters. She said, first thing that came to her mind for F was frog, S – snail, H – horse… You can imagine the uproar in the class.

  • HornCologne

    Funny, these are called both “arance rosse” (red oranges) and “sanguinelle” (from the word for blood, “sangue”) in Italy, and they sell just fine. I am willing to bet, however, that the name would be no barrier in Europe, anyway, since people here are a whole lot less squeamish.

    I can think of at least one country (Ireland) and one city (Cologne) whose specialties include “blood sausage” that really is made from blood! (And onions and spices …) Yum! Since it is dark, dark red to black in color, it is called “Cologne caviar” – people think it is that good!

  • ellaella

    Thanks for the mention! (And your blood orange photos are absolutely mouthwatering.)

    ella – From Scratch

  • Amanda

    Beautiful pictures!!! I remember eating blood oranges when I was little and lived in Florida. Unfortunately not even the local specialty stores sell them up here in Alaska, however.

  • Garrett

    I love making blood orange curd, just use any old lemon curd recipe and replace the lemon juice with blood orange juice. Yum!

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