I've loved blood oranges ever since I had them in gelato when I was working at a gelato store right out of high school. Then I had the real deal in Italy, and sometimes I'll see them in grocery stores. They're not as great in the stores, however, because they aren't nearly as bloody as I like them (does that sound wrong?). The video above explains a bit about blood oranges and their pigmentation. It's also a bit endearing to see these scientists speaking on-camera as if it's their first time; yay nerds!
So anyhow, the blood orange can only be commercially grown in a small area in Sicily by Mt. Etna where the conditions are ideal. For the pigmentation to appear, it needs to both be sunny and cold. Why are the pigments important? They have plenty of health benefits that cannot be found in other types of oranges. "A 2010 study found that blood orange juice limits the development of fat cells and weight gain in mice and provides resistance to obesity compared to blond orange juice or water." There have also been results showing its link to reducing cardiovascular risk factors. The gene that causes the unique pigmentation has been called the "Ruby" gene and is only activated by cold. If isolated and utilized, can help more commercially healthy oranges and orange juice to be produced. Pretty neat no?
Reader questions: Did you know about blood oranges before now? What do you think of this research to make more commercially viable healthier orange juice?
Original article: http://news.jic.ac.uk/2012/03/blood-oranges/