Blood Oranges, Greek Food, and the Mediterranean Diet

Blood Oranges, Greek Food, and the advantages of the Mediterranean Diet

blood oranges juice


Blood orange is a red-orange variety with dark red flesh. Compared to regular oranges, they taste less acidic, slightly sweeter, and have hints of raspberry or strawberry.

Blood oranges are in season in winter and early spring, from about December through April. They thrive in Mediterranean climates, so they are mostly grown in California, Italy, Greece, and Spain.

Blood orange is a citrus fruit that looks similar to orange from the outside but has deep red-colored fruit and juice. The red color is the result of anthocyanin, which develops when these citrus fruits ripen during warm days tempered with cooler nights.


Anthocyanin, the same chemical that makes blueberries blue and cranberries red, gives the flesh their characteristic bloody color, which can range from pale scarlet to deep magenta, depending on the variety and stage of maturation.

This powerful antioxidant mops up cancer-causing free radicals in the body. Since the most brightly colored foods are also the ones packed with the most cancer-fighting antioxidants, blood oranges are a powerhouse of nutrition. At only 70 calories per fruit, they are a great source of vitamin C, fiber, and potassium.

blood oranges juice
Blood oranges are sweeter than other oranges. Their juice is delicious, but because it is quite a bit sweeter than classic orange juice, it ferments quickly and should be used or drunk the same day it's juiced.

One blood orange contains 75 percent of the daily recommended value of vitamin C. Blood oranges are also high in potassium and dietary fiber. A single blood orange contains about 70 calories. These fruits are packed with antioxidants as well.


The Greek diet is known to “bring longevity” and is the “most recommended diet among nutritionists”, as it is mostly plant-based. 


The traditional Greek diet is dark-green leafy vegetables (often wild-gathered), including dandelions, spinach, mustard, fennel, cumin, and purslane; fresh fruits such as figs, pears, plums, grapes, melons, and oranges; high-fiber whole grains, beans, and lentils; complex carbohydrate-rich pasta and bread; olive oil; nuts; and such herbs and spices as garlic, oregano, bay leaves, cinnamon, and cloves.

Rich in immune-boosting antioxidants, the Greek diet provides cancer-fighting compounds, healthful omega-3 fatty acids, and colon-cleansing fiber, which all help lower the risks of diet-linked diseases, including heart disease, obesity, and diabetes.

Tips on how to make the most out of Greek food:

  • Use extra virgin olive oil in your salads and for cooking.
  • Include tomatoes, cucumbers, or a serving of vegetables in each meal.
  • Eat at least two servings of legumes a week.
  • Cut back on red meat.
  • Eat yogurt, nuts, and fresh or dried fruit for snacks every day.
  • Have one small glass of red wine per day, with a meal.
  • Eat sweets on special occasions only.

Recipes Blood Oranges and Greek Food -- https://askthefoodgeek.com/

Each recipe below only uses ingredients that are in season at the same time as blood oranges, or ingredients that have a year-round season. Since their season overlaps with the beginning or end of other fruits and vegetables, the recipes are grouped into early season, late season, or anytime they are available. 

Food with blood oranges: Press the link to see the recipe:


Fennel and blood orange tortilla pizza

blood oranges juice
Ingredients
  • 1 tortilla wrap
  • 1 tsp extra virgin olive oil
  • salt and pepper, to taste
  • 1 clove of garlic, thinly sliced
  • 1/4 cup parmesan cheese, finely shredded
  • 1/4 cup fennel, thinly sliced
  • a small handful of radish and carrot matchsticks
  • 1 small blood orange, sliced
  • a handful of fresh cilantro, fennel, and micro basil leaves
  • 1 tbsp pomegranate seeds (optional)
  • 1 tbsp black sesame seeds, crushed (optional)
  • drizzle extra virgin olive oil, to finish

Instructions

  1. Preheat the oven to 375.
  2. Drizzle olive oil on a tortilla wrap, and lay down garlic slices and fennel. Season with salt and pepper.
  3. Bake in the oven until golden brown, and the sides just begin to curl for about 12-14 minutes.
  4. Remove from oven and immediately scatter parmesan cheese on top.
  5. Top with thinly sliced blood orange, carrot, and radish matchsticks, pomegranate seeds, crushed black sesame seeds, and fresh herbs. Drizzle with a little olive oil to finish. Slice into wedges and serve immediately.

Blood orange, ricotta, and honeycomb toast

blood oranges juice

Ingredients:

  • 2-3 slices of toast of choice
  • 1 cup ricotta
  • 2 blood oranges, peeled & pith removed
  • Honeycomb for drizzling

Directions:
Toast bread and spread a thick layer of ricotta, top with blood orange & honey.




Greek Yogurt Breakfast Bowls

Author: Lauren Kenson

Description

Healthy + 5-minute recipe for Greek yogurt breakfast bowls. Topped with fresh fruit + crunchy granola. High protein + low sugar

blood oranges juice

INGREDIENTS

  • 1 cup plain Greek Yogurt*
  • TOPPING IDEAS
  • ½ c frozen raspberries
  • 5 fresh strawberries, sliced
  • ½ banana, sliced
  • ¼ c granola
  • 1 tbs hemp seeds
  • A sprinkle of sliced almonds
  • coconut nectar / honey

 


Instructions


MAKE RASPBERRY “SAUCE”: Place frozen raspberries in a small microwaveable bowl or glass. Microwave for 25 seconds and then smash lightly with a fork until it looks like jam. If using fresh berries, skip the microwave and just smash them with a fork.

ASSEMBLE BOWLS: Add yogurt and sweetener of choice to a small bowl, and stir until well combined. Spoon raspberry sauce on top. Then layer sliced strawberries & bananas. Finish by sprinkling with crunchy toppings (like granola, hemp seeds, or nuts).


Olive-Baked Feta with Blood Oranges


Ingredients
  • 10.5-ounce Greek feta block, cut in half
  • 2 blood oranges (or another citrus)
  • ½ cup Lindsay Kalamata Olives
  • ½ cup Lindsay Pitted Manzanilla Olives
  • 2-3 cloves garlic, thinly sliced
  • 3-5 sprigs of dill
  • 1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • Kosher salt to taste
  • Pepper to taste
  • Sliced baguette
Olive Feta Blood Orange


Cooking Directions

  • Preheat the oven to 400º F degrees.
  • Place feta blocks in a small baking dish (8 x 6.5)
  • Remove the peel from the blood oranges and slice them crosswise in 1/4" thick rounds, removing the pits.
  • In the baking dish, layer the blood oranges, Kalamata & Manzanilla olives, and garlic on top of and around the feta bocks. No need to layer uniformly.
  • Drizzle the feta, oranges, and olives with olive oil, top with dill sprigs, and sprinkle with salt and pepper.
  • Bake for 20-30 minutes or until the cheese has softened and the olives are roasted and starting to burst.
  • Serve with hearty bread.
Source: 
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