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Health Food of the month - Blood Oranges

January 2017

blood oranges
Pic thanks to Best of Sicily: www.bestofsicily.com/mag/art90.htm


Previous Health Foods of the Month...

Dates

Partridge

Milk


 

Diet & Supplements Index

Waitrose Recipes

The New Year sees those lovely fruity satsumas and clementines going out of season; but there is big compensation this month as January welcomes in blood oranges.

Mid winter is a time when we can be missing out on key nutrients as we settle for comfort warming foods, so the fact that blood oranges are coming into season is good news for health as well as for taste.

Many people stay away from blood oranges because of their very unattractive name, but apart from that they are really a very special and lovely fruit.

Blood oranges have been grown in China and the Southern Mediterranean for centuries. In more recent times, Italy and Spain have been the main producing areas but blood oranges are also grown in California and other places in the world where citrus fruit can thrive.

They are not grown all over the world or available all year round because they rely on specific weather to develop their vivid red colour. This very distinct deep red colour will only develop when temperatures are mild during the day but low at night. The colour is due to the compound anthocyanin; the darker the orange the more anthocyanin it contains.

Anthocyanin has long been recognised as a useful substance in health.  Some research has indicated that anthocyanins appear to improve cholesterol levels and blood sugar metabolism as well as fight oxidative stress, a process known to play a role in heart disease.

Blood oranges also contain all the key nutrients found in other oranges, including good levels of vitamin C and fibre plus smaller amounts of protein, potassium and folate and useful sources of calcium and thiamine.

Today there are many varieties of blood orange available, but the three most popular are the Moro, the Ippolito,  the Tarocco and the Sanguinello. The first three generally come from southern Italy and the last from Spain. The Moro blood orange has almost no seeds in it and has a less sharp taste than the Tarocco. Other varieties including a Maltese blood orange which is said to be the sweetest of all.

Buying blood oranges follows similar rules to buying other oranges...buy fruit that is heavy for its size and also firm to the touch. If there are any soft or spongy spots on the orange, put it back.

Blood oranges will last as well as other oranges and can be kept in the fridge for up to two weeks. They can be used to add excellent colour to a range of dishes including jams and upside down cakes.

 

 


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