In the winter months, blood oranges make their way into our lives. They are so flavorful and eye-catching that you can't help yourself to a bundle of these gems! The wonderful flavors of citrus, along with a hint of a raspberry-like taste, make them ideal for snacking on them just as they are. But there are so many other ways you can enjoy them that I thought I would share with you one of my favorite ways to do just that!
First, let's get familiar with these beauties. Did you know that there are three common types of blood oranges? They are Moro, Tarocco, and the Sanguinello. The Moro variety of blood oranges are round and grow in bundles on trees. This is the most common variety in the United States. The peel of the Moro has a pretty crimson-purple tinge that is quite striking. When you slice into this fruit, it is the reddest when compared to other varieties of blood oranges. Again, another beautiful quality. Along with being attractive to look at, its taste is not only unique, but quite refreshing!
The Tarocco variety is known to be the most popular. Why? I think it is because the thin skin is very easy to peel (we all love it when things are easy), and the Tarocco is very sweet and juicy. Yep, we love our sweets! It also has the most Vitamin C content than the other varieties. Another star next to its name. And lastly, it is seedless which makes it easier to enjoy. The skin is a yellowish orange color without the crimson tones.
Lastly, the Sanguinello variety is very sweet and has only few seeds. The skin is yellowish red in color, and the pulp of the Sanguinello is blood red in color. I would say it's almost a cross between the other two varieties.
There are several health benefits that are associated with this beautiful citrus. They contain antioxidants, folates, vitamin C, anthocyanins, calcium, and vitamin A. As a matter of fact, blood oranges have the highest level of vitamin C as compared to other orange varieties. That is huge because we know how important the role of Vitamin C is when it comes to protecting our body's tissues. Not to mention being an immune booster! They contain calcium and have 3 grams of fiber per orange. Blood oranges are known as the anti-aging orange because they are the only citrus fruit to contain anthocyanins, which is found in its beautiful red pigmentation. Nutritionists believe anthocyanins have anti-inflammatory properties that affect collagen reproduction as well as assisting in cancer prevention, diabetes, bacterial infections, and reducing the risk of heart disease. Another one of the health benefits of blood oranges is that they help to defend blood vessels from oxidative damage, assist in controlling cholesterol levels, and aid the body in self healing. The more I learn about these little guys, the more I love them!
So as I said, eating them on their own is a treat! I also love throwing them into a salad. Check out my winter citrus salad for some ideas on that. Another fun way to enjoy them is by making some ice cream. You all know that is my weakness. Lately, when making ice cream, I have included some soaked cashews into the mix. It adds a nice creaminess as well as some healthy fats. The cashews are totally optional so if you are not a fan, leave them out. You can't detect them though in case you are wondering about taste. When adding sweetener you may not need a lot, depending on how sweet your oranges are. So start with 1/4 cup and go from there. If you caught my recent recipe for black sesame shortbread cookies, I thought those cookies would make the perfect bookends for this ice cream so I made some ice cream sandwiches with them. They were delicious! I think any flavor of ice cream would be outstanding with those cookies so keep that in mind.
2 cans full fat coconut milk
1 cup raw cashews, soaked 4 hours
1 cup blood oranges, peeled, remove any seeds
2 Tbs blood orange zest
1/4-1/2 cup honey or maple syrup (depends on your sweet preference)
1. Soak your cashews and prep oranges.
2. Place the milk, cashews, oranges, zest, and sweetener of choice into your high speed blender and blend until smooth. Taste to adjust sweetness level if needed.
3. Pour the mixture into your ice cream maker and follow manufacturers instructions. Store the ice cream in an airtight container in your freezer.