Blood Orange Zest: Add a Burst of Citrus to Your Dishes

sliced grapefruits

The aurelianas, a variegated variety of mandarin with green and white stripes, are available only during the summer. They’re delicious eaten fresh or cooked. You’ll notice that their flavor is somewhat less acidic than regular oranges.

Blood orange zest season

The season for blood oranges begins in December and lasts until April. They’re native to the Mediterranean region, therefore Italy, California, and Spain are the main producers.

After the fruit is harvested from the tree, it does not ripen. This implies that they don’t get sweeter or more delectable after being plucked. There is, however, a silver lining to this: since further maturation would hasten their decay, they will keep longer.


Most stores don’t label the blood orange variety. If you can locate the specific kinds, the following are the most frequent ones:

  • The now-named Moro is the most widespread blood orange in the United States. The flesh is darker-red than other types, and it may even be almost purple in places. They are the first blood oranges to mature. The flavor can become unpleasant when kept for too long, so seek them out only during winter (after March).
  • The blood orange, also known as Tarocco, originated in Southern Italy and is cultivated around the world. Its skin has a more modest crimson hue than other blood orange varieties and features little-to-no red-blush. This variety has the sweetest flavor of all. They are available until April (and sometimes into May).
  • The most popular blood orange in Spain is Sanguinello. The peel is yellow-orange, with red/blush markings. The flesh is orange streaked with burgundy and may appear brownish. These mature later in the season.

How to pick

A blood orange that is large for its size has more liquid content, indicating it is juicy. If they were left to mature on the tree longer, they would be sweeter (although that isn’t a guarantee, since they may have been picked and then kept in cold storage before distribution).

How to store

sliced orange fruit on black background

The thick peel acts as a protective barrier against mold and rot-causing agents. It helps us to keep citrus fruits for longer than other fruit because citrus fruits don’t mature after harvesting.

  • Whole blood oranges: leave them on the counter or in the refrigerator for a few days or two weeks
  • Wrap the exposed flesh in plastic wrap and refrigerate it for several days.
  • Keep in an airtight container in the refrigerator for a few days.
  • Zest: if kept on the counter or in the fridge, its fragrance and taste dissipate rapidly. Zest may be frozen to preserve it for longer periods of time. Once zested, spread it out on a tray and quickly freeze it. Transfer the block of frozen zest to a sealed container and freeze for several months.
  • Store in the fridge for a few days or freeze in ice cube trays and then store in an airtight container.

How to cut & zest

Before you zest, remove the wax: Blood oranges (and other citrus) are usually coated with a thin layer of wax to prevent moisture loss, which is now legal according on the FDA. Organic blood oranges are also coated in a waxy substance, although it is produced from an organic source like palm oil. Using a firm bristle brush (like a vegetable brush) and washing it under hot running water will remove the wax.

Zest the peel’s bright, colored exterior, stopping when you hit the white pith. The pith is in the middle and is sour.

Aroma & the peel

The aromatic oil in lemon peel is what gives it its fragrance and flavor. These oils are volatile, which means they readily escape into the air. This is both beneficial and detrimental.

When the oils enter our air, we smell them, which improves our flavor perception. There’s a reason why bartenders twist an orange peel before putting it on your mixed drink; it’s not simply for show.

The disadvantage of the oil’s volatility is that after being sliced or zested, the aroma and taste do not last long. That is why countertop zest storage or refrigeration does not work.


Recipes using this fruit frequently take advantage of the fruit’s amazing color, which may be used to make a pop of crimson against green leaves or a stunning deep red cocktail. The flavor is more complex than most other oranges (like navel).

How to Eat Blood Orange

Blood oranges are fruits that pack a punch when eaten alone or added to other citrus dishes. Blood oranges, according to many people, taste like a delectable orange with flavors of tangy cranberry and sweet raspberry, making for an exceptionally jammy and sour red-fleshed citrus fruit.

Blood oranges are similar to navel oranges in appearance, and they’re also quite delicious. Blood oranges can be squeezed for a refreshing morning juice, sliced into snacks, included in fruit and vegetable salads, and used in a variety of recipes for desserts and savory foods, just like classic navel oranges. You peel a blood orange the same way you would a normal one.

Blood oranges, on the other hand, are sweeter and more aromatic than regular navel oranges. The tart flavor of blood oranges comes from their low acidity and resembles that of a grapefruit. Blood oranges are delicious in salads, on pizzas and pastas, or simply as a snack. They’re also good for use in everything from marinades to drinks recipes that require delicately acidic citrus taste and a brilliant crimson hue. Their rich flavor and acidity complement meaty or spicy meals well, while their complexity compliments delicate fish such as salmon, chicken, pork, and even beef.

Blood oranges might have a few seeds from time to time, even if they are seedless. If you find a seed in your blood orange, spit it out or remove it the same way you would any other navel orange or lemon.

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