Blood oranges are an unusual variety of the traditional sweet orange, whose unique genetics triggers them to produce blood red anthocyanin pigments.
These are the same group of compounds which are thought to give red wine and blueberries their potential health benefits. In fact, blood oranges can contain almost twice the polyphenols and five times the antioxidant activity of the regular ones, while same packing the same dose of vitamin C. Wow!
Ever notice however that in a batch of blood oranges some are far darker than others? This is because they start life looking just like regular oranges and are only triggered to produce this red pigment when exposed to winter chills, which is also why they tend to get redder as the season progresses.
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Luckily this is really easy to mimic at home just by popping them in the fridge. Italian researchers found that the levels of anthocyanins in blood oranges stored at 4C (typical domestic fridge temperature) skyrockerted to 8 times their original levels after just 6 days.
Better still, the flavones and overall antioxidant activity were also raised & these levels remained high for several weeks, so you dont have to rush to eat them. Eight times the good stuff for zero extra work? Not a bad deal really.