4 Signs on How to Tell if a Blood Orange is Bad

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In the world of citrus fruits, the blood orange stands out for its unique flavor and vibrant color. However, like all fruits, it has a shelf life, and knowing how to tell if a blood orange is bad is essential to enjoying it at its best. In this article, we’ll explore the best way to determine if your blood orange is past its prime, ensuring you get the most from it, whether you’re enjoying it in a fresh fruit bowl or squeezing it for orange juice.

Related: how to cut a blood orange, blood orange puff pastry tarts

Blood orange slices.

My family and I are always so excited to see all the varieties of blood orange hit the grocery stores and farmer’s markets! My mind immediately start filling with ideas about how I can incorporate them into tasty recipes.

Did you know?

Peak season for blood oranges runs through the winter months of December, January and February and all the way through April.

Why Should I Know if I Have a Bad Blood Orange?

Knowing if you have bad oranges is essential for several reasons:

  1. Health and Safety: Consuming spoiled fruit can lead to foodborne illnesses or adverse reactions, so it’s crucial to identify and discard any potentially harmful blood oranges.
  2. Taste and Enjoyment: Rotten oranges may have an unpleasant taste or texture, detracting from the enjoyment of eating or using them in recipes.
  3. Preventing Waste: By recognizing signs of spoilage early, you can avoid wasting money on fruit that is no longer fresh and edible.
  4. Quality of Dishes: Using bad blood oranges in recipes, such as orange juice or salads, can negatively impact their taste and quality of the final dish.

How to Tell if a Blood Orange is Bad

In this section, we’ll cover a range of indicators, from visual cues like mold and discoloration to the feel of the fruit and even its smell and taste. You can apply these indicators to Cara Cara oranges, Valencia oranges or any other orange variety.   

  • Visual Indicators of Spoilage: Mold, discoloration, and bruising are common signs of a spoiled fruit. Mold may appear as fuzzy spots on the skin of the blood orange, while discoloration can manifest as dark spots or a change in the orange color. Bruising indicates physical damage to the fruit, which can accelerate spoilage.
  • Texture and firmness: Ripe oranges should feel firm and heavy for its size, with a slight give when given a gentle squeeze. Avoid oranges with soft spots and a mushy texture, as these indicate decay and loss of freshness. Additionally, any signs of wrinkling or shriveling may indicate dehydration and diminished quality.
  • Smell: A fresh blood orange emits a fragrant citrus aroma, reminiscent of its sweet and tangy flavor. A spoiled orange may have a sour smell, signaling microbial growth or fermentation. Trust your senses—if the smell seems off, it’s best to discard the fruit.
  • Taste: While blood oranges are naturally sweet and tangy, spoiled fruit may develop off-flavors or unpleasant tastes due to microbial activity or decay. If the orange tastes bitter, sour, or rancid, it’s likely past its prime and should be tossed.
How to cut a blood orange featured image.

Storage Tips

To extend the shelf life of blood oranges, store them in a cool, dry place away from direct sunlight. Optimal storage temperature ranges from 40 to 50°F (4 to 10°C), such as in the crisper drawer of your refrigerator. Keep the oranges loose or in a breathable plastic bag to prevent moisture buildup, which can promote mold growth. It’s also a good idea to avoid storing blood oranges near strong-smelling foods, as they can absorb odors.

Common Mistakes to Avoid

One common mistake is storing ripe blood oranges at room temperature for too long, which accelerates spoilage. Additionally, mishandling or storing oranges for later use in a crowded or humid environment can lead to bruising, mold growth, or dehydration. Another mistake is ignoring visual or sensory cues of spoilage, such as signs of mold or off-putting smells, and consuming the fruit anyway.

By knowing how to tell if a blood orange is bad, you can ensure that you’re using fresh citrus fruit in your recipes and avoiding any unpleasant surprises. These tips not only apply to blood oranges but also to regular oranges, navel oranges, and any other type of citrus fruit. Always inspect the orange peel, check for firmness, smell for freshness, and taste if necessary to determine the quality of your fruit.

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