14 March 2011

Blood Oranges - so gorgeous, but why so difficult to find?

Once upon a time, I can remember walking down to our local Greengrocer where (it seemed) he had Blood Oranges available all year round.  Of course, this was more than likely because we were only in the U.K. for certain months of the year, as at that time we were living in Germany due to my Dad being in the Army.  I expect we were in the U.K. for a summer holiday, visiting my Nanna & Gramps in Kingston upon Thames.

Anyway, Blood Oranges are part and parcel of my memories of childhood.

I can remember being vaguely revolted by the idea of a "Blood" orange, yet (being a bloodthirsty kid at the time) the very idea of an orange containing "blood" but still tasting like an orange, was intriguing beyond mere curiosity.

I can remember unwrapping their little crinkly paper coats and smoothing each coat out to be kept.  Some of those little paper wrappers were works of art!  Why don't oranges still wear them?  Then admiring the tell-tale signs of colouration beneath the skin as I broke into the orange with my longest fingernail and began to peel.  As each piece of skin came away, I was always excited to find out whether my orange was the reddest one of the lot, or whether my brother had the reddest - and therefore, the best - orange.  Then, popping each segment into my mouth, with that explosion of sweet orange flavour that is like no other.  Somehow the sun is always shining in these memories, too.

I wanted to make those memories happen for my son.  So, when Blood Orange season was upon us, so began the search for these little citrus jewels.

No word of a lie, it took probably 3-4 weeks before I found some - and then only thanks to putting the alert out there in the Twitterverse did I discover that Sainsbury's had them in stock.  However, having found the little beauties, I find that they are priced at £2.45 for four!  I remember them as being relatively cheap to buy.  They HAD to be, if my parents were buying them for us - as we certainly didn't have money to fritter away on frivolities in those days.

I then began to wonder, whether the lack of Blood Oranges on the market had anything to do with their being called "blood".  Having asked some people who are "in the know" as regards fruit, their opinion was that I may be onto something there.  It seems that Blood Oranges have been being marketed as "blush" or "flame" oranges - although full marks go out to Sainsbury's who had theirs labelled as "blood".

Another little gem of information - which came from the people at Jaffa - is that with the rise in interest with regard to juicing, most Supermarkets have largely juicing oranges in stock, while ordinary "eat it whole" oranges have taken a back seat.  It seems, which I find appalling, as though us consumers are prepared to eat an "easy to peel" orange or satsuma, but an orange that takes a little more effort to peel?  Nope.  Can't be bothered.  ~gasp~  What does that say about us?  I have some sympathy with the office-bound person who is reluctant to take an orange to work because the peeling of it leaves orange zest on your fingers for the remainder of the day.  I used to hate that.  So personally, I just cut my orange into segments and get stuck in - rather like eating melon.

So the long and the short of it is - if you don't want Blood Oranges to disappear completely, get out there and buy them and shout long and loud about it, when you can't find them!

I think we should start a movement promoting the marketing of Blood Oranges.  I love a campaign!


  1. Well...Well....Fancy that l'd forgotten all about Blood Oranges. The only orange's l remember, are the oranges in Gran Marnier....! :)
    Soooo....l'll have to look out for some now, as for a campaign, don't know if l'm up to riding round the country on horse back...!
    But oranges in general are supposed to be good for blood pressure, are'nt they? And for hypertension...(I'd better get some then)..
    And, in southern Italy/Sicily, the use oranges in tea, as they use lemons over here. But always remember to slice them, as it would be quite impossible to drink.....! :0).
    Lovely.....Sorry....Still a bit 'overjoyed' at Italy turning over the French at rugby on Sat...
    Whey-Hey..Well, we don't win that often...!
    Another less duck in the deep freeze....!

  2. My ears pricked up at the idea of riding around the country on horseback, but I really don't think I could do that to the poor horse these days. Now riding around the country in a horse and carriage, that I could do! Far more fitting. LOL I hadn't heard that oranges were good for hypertension - I'll have to look into that further. I like the idea of an orange slice in tea - I'll have to try that when the lemon runs out!

    If you usually eat oranges and manage to get your hands on some blood oranges, I'd be interested to know your opinion on them. To me, they taste very different - sweeter, but there's something else there too - to the usual juicing oranges.


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