Sarah's Superfoods: Blood oranges

Posted in February, March, All Recipes, Winter, on

Country Living magazine February 2015

This article first appeared in Country Living in February 2015. To read the PDF copy of the feature as it appeared in the magazine, please click here, or you can read the article in full below.


February to March is the best time to make the most of the Sicilian blood orange (tarocco, sanguinello or moro). Small fruit crammed with huge flavour and a soft texture that almost melts in the mouth, they are always juicy, a little sharp with a lot of acid, but this is balanced by their sugar content.

There’s pleasure in consuming as many as you can, and for important health reasons, too. Blood oranges are super-rich in nutrients, in a different league to other citrus fruit. Like the rest, they have high levels of immune system-boosting vitamin C (one medium blood orange will provide over 100 per cent of your daily needs), but they have other healthy strings to their bow as well. They contain a group of antioxidants called anthocyanins, the pigments responsible for giving this orange its intense ‘blood’ colour. Acting as a natural sunscreen for the plants, it helps to protect them from UV light; this property is passed on to us when we eat them, so they also score highly on the antioxidant scale.

Blood oranges are also a good source of fibre, with one providing 28 per cent of our daily requirement, plus calcium and thiamine.

Increasing numbers of laboratory and clinical trials are turning the blood orange into a superfood hero. One recent study found that drinking this juice with a full English breakfast reduced the harmful effect of the fat-laden fry up. It’s also been suggested that regular consumption of the fruit may affect our metabolism and help with weight loss.

You have to be quick to find these rich-looking, crimson fruit; some supermarkets have taken to calling them blush oranges, perhaps thinking we will be confused or offended by their proper name. They’re delicious peeled and eaten as they are or juiced for breakfast, but with the recipes on these pages, why not turn them into a daily treat while they’re plentiful?

This article also includes five blood orange recipes:

  • Bircher muesli
  • Coconut panna cotta caramel
  • Sangria chicken
  • Blood orange, lemon and pink grapefruit marmalade
  • Blood orange sorbet