Have you ever encountered a Blood Orange?
Its mild sweetness combined with its exotic deep rosy hue makes it a delightfully unique addition to dishes such as salads, desserts and preserves.
But what happens if you can’t find a Blood Orange?
Fortunately, there are many suitable substitutes on the market.
To give an idea of what these might be – and how to use them – let’s look at five of the best alternatives for Blood Oranges, so you can still enjoy their distinct flavor in your favorite recipes.
What’s Blood Orange?
Blood oranges are a citrus fruit with a deep red pigment that gives the fruit its unique hue.
This hue distinguishes it from other types of oranges, such as navel and Valencia oranges – both of which have yellow/orange skin.
The blood orange has a distinctive flavor that is sweet and slightly tart, making them ideal for recipes such as salads, sauces, marmalades, desserts and refreshing drinks.
The taste profile of the blood orange is unique in that it has a balance between sweet citrus notes and some berry-like taste.
It is said to be deliciously complex in nature with hints of raspberry or cranberry flavors as well as floral nuances.
The pulp can range from bright red to deep purple depending on the variety and ripeness of the fruit.
Blood oranges are rich in Vitamins A & C which make them a nutrient packed snack or component within meals.
They contain compounds including anthocyanin which have antioxidant properties which can help reduce inflammation and improve overall health by fighting off bacteria and viruses.
When selecting your blood oranges look for fruits that have firm skins but still feel heavy for their size; these will be more juicy than those that are smaller or lighter in weight.
Additionally make sure you inspect for bruises or soft spots before adding to your basket at the store as these might affect the outcome of your recipe if not eaten immediately upon purchase.
The 5 Best Substitutes for Blood Oranges
Unfortunately, they can be hard to come by unless you live in an area where they’re grown.
The good news is that there are several substitutes you can use if you can’t find blood oranges.
Here are five of the best options for substituting for blood oranges:
1 – Cara Cara Oranges
Cara Cara oranges are a variety of navel oranges that were first discovered in Venezuela in 1976 and released for sale in the U.S. around 1983.
Cara Caras are similar to normal navel oranges, but they have an intense pink hue inside instead of the white or yellowish pulp.
They’re also sweeter and taste less acidic than other orange varieties, which makes them a better stand-in for blood oranges when used for baking or juicing drinks.
Like blood oranges, these can vary slightly in flavor and size depending on their source, so make sure to pick ones that look ripe and juicy before using them as a substitute.
2 – Valencia Oranges
Valencia oranges are a classic orange that is sweet, juicy and full of flavor.
They are slightly acidic but still have a deep, rich flavor.
This makes them an excellent substitute for blood oranges, especially in baking or salads where the hint of tartness will add an extra layer of complexity to the dish.
Valencia oranges also have an added bonus of being available year-round – many other citrus fruits are seasonal, so using Valencia as a substitute means you can enjoy the same flavors all year long.
3 – Grapefruit Juice
Grapefruit juice is a very good substitute for blood oranges.
While it won’t provide the same sweetness and color as the blood oranges, it does have plenty of intense flavor.
Simply squeeze your own grapefruit for the juiciest results, or buy pure bottled juice from a store.
If you have access to white grapefruit, mix one part white grapefruit juice with two parts orange juice for an even closer substitution.
4 – Pink Grapefruit
Pink grapefruit has a tart, sweet-tart flavor, like that of a blood orange.
This fruit is a great substitute in salads, sauces and desserts.
You can also use it to garnish drinks and cocktails.
The color of the flesh is slightly lighter than that of the blood orange, but when combined with other ingredients or flavors, you won’t be able to tell the difference.
Lemon or lime juice can be added to give it more of an acidic bite if desired.
Just remember to adjust any sugar or honey in your recipes accordingly.
5 – Navel Oranges
Navel oranges are a classic, easy-to-find substitute for blood oranges.
They have a similar sweet citrus flavor and aroma as blood oranges, plus they’re easy to peel and section.
Navel oranges also have some of the same health benefits as blood oranges, with good amounts of vitamin C and other nutrients.
However, they do not possess the same deep red pigment, so in recipes like drinks or desserts where color is important, navel oranges won’t match the look of blood oranges exactly.
But if you just need something to blend in a smoothie or add to your morning oatmeal, navel oranges are a great substitute that will deliver similar flavors at a fraction of the cost.
When it comes to finding the perfect substitute for blood oranges, it’s important to keep in mind that every citrus fruit is a little different.
Depending on what flavors you are trying to replicate, any of these five blood orange substitutes can be used in a variety of recipes.
However, fresh oranges may be the best way to get the unique flavor of blood oranges without having to compromise elsewhere.
By using some innovative recipes, you can easily create a delicious and flavorful dessert or snack using ordinary oranges.
If you don’t have blood oranges on hand, any one of these five alternatives should make an excellent substitution that is sure to please your taste buds.