By Heidi Lewis
[The Green Room – Children’s Television Department]
Bunny: “What’s with all the bits of fabric everywhere?”
Bob: “Count von Count from Sesame Street and Count Chocula got into a heated debate. The Count was trying to count the blood oranges in the FruitGuys crate, and Chocula was trying to eat them.”
Bunny: “Silly vampires, blood oranges are for people!”
Blood oranges can elicit excitement in all kinds of folks, fabric or otherwise. They can also cause quite a shock when you cut open an orange to find a maroon surprise. Sunset, ruby, crimson, scarlet, garnet—the descriptors for the colors in this citrus variety are ample. Wikipedia even redirects the link “red-orange” to the “blood orange” page.
The parents of U.S.-grown blood oranges emigrated from Italy. Most of our domestic varieties—Moro, Sanguinello Moscato, and Tarocca—have their origins in Sicily, where the warm volcanic soil and chilly nights turn the oranges red. Grown in that region since the 17th century, blood oranges have been an Italian favorite ever since. Their season stirs an arancia rossa fever and is the traditional time to go to the cafe for a freshly squeezed glass of spremuta.
Like the blue in blueberries and the pink in grapefruit, the red pigment in blood oranges contains anthocyanin—a powerful antioxidant. To boot, they pack in more vitamin C than regular oranges: 150–200mg per cup of blood orange juice versus 75–125mg in regular or “blonde” orange juice. The raspberry-tinged flavor and bright tartness of blood oranges add pizzazz to salads, dressings, and desserts.
Prep/storage: The beautiful skin of blood oranges is sometimes not so easy to peel. Try eating them sliced into segments—the better to sink your fangs into. Keep them at room temperature and out of direct sunlight for up to a week, or store in the fridge for up to 3 weeks.