The blood orange is a darker orange to red-fleshed orange that has been popular for numerous years in Europe. It has now gained popularity in the US, and there are blood orange crops grown in Florida and San Diego. The exterior of the blood orange is a rose-tinted orange color. Depending upon variety, the skin color may be lighter or darker. The surprise comes when one cuts open the orange to reveal its pink to dark crimson flesh.
There are several varieties of the blood orange. These are the Tarocco, the Sanguinello, and the Moro. Of these, the Tarocco has the greatest popularity in Europe and is grown primarily in Italy. It may not always have the highest red coloring however, and some Tarocco blood oranges resemble more traditional oranges. However, in taste the Tarocco is often considered superior to the other varieties.
The Sanguinello is grown in Spain, and is an almost seedless variety. It tends to have a deeper red color. The Moro is most commonly grown in the US and tends to have the darkest flesh. If one is really going for that deep crimson in juices or dishes prepared with the blood orange, the Moro may be the best choice.
The coloring of the blood orange differs from the typical orange because it has an additional pigment called anthocyanin. Anthocyanin can be found in purple and red flowers, and other fruits. For example, the Fuji and Red Delicious Apples owe their deep red exterior to the pigment.
The blood orange is also celebrated for its taste. A ripe blood orange is very sweet and mellow. Some ascribe subtle flavoring hints of raspberry and strawberry to the orange. However, others simply describe the blood orange as identical in taste to a sweet regular orange.
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