Blood Orange: The Mystery Behind the Superfood

There are few fruits as beguiling and mysterious as the prized blood orange. Its rareness and otherworldly taste and color—not to mention its sinister name—conjure to mind a Roald Dahl character tripping in an orange grove with magic crystals in his pocket. 

The origins of this delicacy are also enigmatic, fueling the intrigue. Some historians believe the first blood orange tree—a mutation of the sweet orange, which is the most commonly grown fruit tree in the world—grew accidentally in China, though others believe it was first cultivated for royalty during Arab rule in Sicily in the 9th and 10th centuries. The earliest documentation of it, however, was in Italy in the 1600s. (In 1646, a Jesuit scholar wrote about discovering a purple orange with that tasted oddly like a grape.) 

Regardless of where it was born, Tuscany was the place the fruit truly thrived, and, to this day, a glass of blood orange juice is a proud staple of a Sicilian breakfast. The Tuscan climate is the secret sauce, because the temperature differential is big enough to bring out the fruit’s anthocyanins, a flavonoid (a class of compounds with antioxidant effects) that gives red, purple, and blue plants their color. 

Here the plot thickens, for scientists have yet to discover why anthocyanins require the stress of cold weather to activate in citrus fruit. They have, however, isolated the gene, called Ruby, that’s responsible for it. 

These anthocyanins make for beautiful colors, but they also carry enormous health benefits, too. Anthocyanins are powerful antioxidants, which wipe out cancer-causing free radicals in the body. Of course, like their commonplace cousins, blood oranges are also a great source of vitamin C, fiber, and potassium, and scientists believe they may also positively impact cardiovascular health, help control diabetes, and reduce obesity.

Unfortunately for all of us, blood orange season is short—they’re only available from December to May—but you can count on Miraflora’s +Balance Tuscan Blood Orange Sparkling Hemp Infusions to get your daily dose regardless of the time of year. We source our fruit only from the finest orchards in Tuscany so you can reap the maximum benefits. We then blend this pure juice with 35 mg of organic CBD from our family farm in Boulder, Colo., and add some additional functional ingredients to keep your body on track. 

Order some today—or try our new variety pack, which has all the delicious flavors, Yuzu Chamomile, Berry Hibiscus, Peach Ginger, and, of course, Tuscan Blood Orange. Cheers, to your delicious daily chill!

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