They like a cold climate and originated from Sicily and in Jingxian in Hunan Province – a natural occurring fruit. We found a wonderful painting from 1715 where Blood Oranges were depicted and in fact the painter, Bartolomeo Bimbi, apparently depicted well over a hundred varieties of fruit cultivated in the Medici gardens in four of his larger paintings.
Blood oranges are the best winter antidote with vitamin C and a powerful antioxidant. The skin, is a deep orange characterised by a blush and the flesh a warming red, sometimes mixed with orange. The taste, a tiny bit bitter and less acidic than navel oranges. Imagine an orange that’s tastes of raspberry.
All oranges contain carotene — that’s what makes them orange. The red color in Blood Oranges come from high concentrations of a pigment called anthocyanin, a powerful antioxidant that neutralizes the effects of free radicals. Free radicals are the agents believed to be responsible for cancer, aging and other health ailments.
Anthocyanin is an antioxidant found in purple eggplant and blueberries among others red blue fruits and vegetables. Blood oranges can be squeezed for their juice, turned into ice confectionary, they make good marmalades (although you’ll need to use lemon seeds so that they set as most local varieties are seedless). Their zest is flavoursome in cakes, icings and candied peel. It is also add colour and flavour when added to quince jelly.
The jewel like colour of blood oranges segments in a salad of watercress is memorable. Throw in a handful of toasted walnuts and toss in a french dressing (dijon mustard mixed with three parts olive oil to one part blood orange juice with salt and pepper to taste).
- 1¾ cups high-quality all-purpose flour
- 2 tsp baking powder
- ½ tsp salt
- ½ cup sugar
- 1 tsp blood orange zest (skin grated)
- ¾ cup blood orange juice, 6 needed.
- 8 tbs unsalted butter
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- ¼ cup sour cream
- 2 eggs, beaten Note leave at room temperature for an hour before whipping
- Preheat your oven to 176C. Grease a 12-cup muffin tin.
- In a bowl place flour, baking powder, salt and sugar and mix. Then add orange zest, juice, butter, vanilla, sour cream and eggs, mixing as you go.
- Fill the prepared muffin cups about three-quarters of the way full. Place in the centre of of oven cook for 20 minutes. Allow to cool. Decorate with your favourite topping.