The sweet-tart juice of a blood orange, with hints of honey, is the perfect base for a sorbet. With the vibrant blood orange color, this dairy-free frozen treat is bound to impress anyone who takes a bite. Learn what season to find blood oranges and how to make a killer blood orange sorbet recipe.
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One of the most surprising things to learn when figuring out which foods come into which seasons, is learning that citrus fruits actually winter fruits! We see a lot of lemon and orange recipes in the summer, but they actually winter fruits! But thanks to advances in modern farming, we can enjoy citrus pretty much all year long. I have to admit, drinking lemonade in the middle of winter would be super weird.
In my opinion, though, there is one citrus fruit that really gets me excited in the winter or late spring and that’s blood oranges! If you haven’t seen blood oranges, they are super crazy to look at but they are a fantastic fruit to play around with! This Honey and Blood Orange Sorbet is a tasty treat to make ahead and enjoy in the summer!
What Are Blood Oranges
Blood oranges are… well, oranges. They are a naturally occurring mutation of oranges (that have been now pollinated for consistency) that have a red tint to the flesh. You can peel them just like an orange but the rind is a bit thicker than a regular orange.
Now without getting too far into the super science of what creates color in foods, blood oranges have developed a higher level of a particular pigment called anthocyanins. Anthocyanins are the pigment responsible for “red” colored foods. So the more anthocyanins the blood oranges have the darker red the flesh.
Sometimes you’ll even see red on the peel of blood oranges, which makes it super easy to spot amongst other oranges in the stores and farmers markets.
Depending on the strain of blood orange you get can greatly determine how red the flesh gets. I’ve seen blood oranges that have very little redness to the flesh and I’ve seen others with such a deep red that they almost look purple!
After buying some blood oranges, store them like you normally would with navel oranges; in a nice cold fridge!
Blood orange season is from about November or December and lasts until April or May. They are perfect for salads, sauces, and even desserts! Blood oranges have a sweet and sour, complex flavor profile which makes them fun to create dishes and sauces with. Especially this honey and blood orange sorbet.
What is Sorbet Made of
I went over this concept in another post but it’s definitely worth repeating. Sorbet is a frozen treat that consists of:
- Sugar (or a sweetener of some kind)
The flavoring can range from anything really. Coffee, wine, fruit juices; I’ve even seen a slightly savory sorbet as a palate cleanser in a restaurant.
For this honey and blood orange sorbet, I wanted to really make the flavor of the blood orange pop while still making it palatable. Sometimes blood oranges can be too sour, so I wanted my sweetener to have a bit of a sweet flavor itself.
Using a citrus or an orange blossom honey would work beautifully in this recipe, especially if you can get it from your local farmers market, but you can always use store bought honey if you’re in a jam. If you’re wanting to make this a vegan sorbet, you can use agave nectar as a substitute!
I’ll admit, I’m not a huge fan of the taste of honey; I can appreciate it in some instances but I can’t appreciate a huge honey flavor. So I decided to make a simple syrup using half cane sugar and half honey. If you are all about team honey go all the way with it!
Using Store Bought Juice vs Fresh Squeezed Blood Orange Juice
When making this recipe, I’ll admit that I was lucky to find blood oranges in the summer (some of the last of the crop, I’m sure) and it’s probably not the most optimal time to make this sorbet… but I play by own rules.
If you are just in the mood for a great orange sorbet, but it’s in the middle of summer, there are two ways to combat this:
- Make the sorbet during blood orange season and ration out for summer
- Buy blood orange juice
Now keep this in mind if you buy the juice itself, freshly squeezed juice always taste much better than the store-bought stuff. Store bought juice has some preservatives added to it, it’s probably reconstituted from a concentrate etc… Whatever it is, fresh blood orange juice will always be better than store bought.
However, you can always find blood orange juice here or at Whole Foods Market. I would just adjust the sweetening as necessary.
Making Honey and Blood Orange Sorbet
Unlike my Orange and Basil Sorbet, I didn’t heat up my blood orange juice. I did, however, bring my water, cane sugar, and honey to a boil in order to create my simple syrup. That helped break down the sugar crystals so that I was left with a smooth texture.
I did allow my base to cool, however, just enough that it wouldn’t warm up my ice cream making attachment too much.
Churning sorbets takes less time than it does for ice cream, simply because of the high sugar content and non-existing fat content. But make sure that your sorbet has a nice pale color, which indicates that enough air has been churned into the sorbet to get the smooth consistency we want.
Allow the sorbet to freeze 3-4 hours or even overnight before enjoying. This just ensures that the sorbet doesn’t thaw too quickly. Store like you normally would with ice cream and you are good to go!
I hope that you enjoy this sorbet immensely, it has a fantastic flavor and is a great way to introduce a novice to blood oranges! If you especially liked this recipe, leave a comment down below (with a rating)!
The sweet-tart juice of a blood orange, with hints of honey, is the perfect base for a sorbet. With the vibrant blood orange color, this dairy-free frozen treat is bound to impress anyone who takes a bite. Learn what season to find blood oranges and how to make a killer blood orange sorbet recipe
- 10 blood oranges juiced
- ½ cup cane sugar
- ½ cup honey
- 1 cup water
Place juice of blood oranges in a medium mixing bowl, being sure to strain the juice to catch any seeds.
Bring sugar, honey, and water to a boil in a small pot until sugar is dissolved. Pour into bowl with blood orange juice. Stir and cool in fridge for about an hour or so.
According to ice cream maker instructions, churn sorbet base for at least 15 minutes (18 is optimum). Once the time is up, carefully place sorbet into an airtight container and place in freezer to ripen for 3-4 hours.
Serve and enjoy.
If blood oranges aren't in season when you are making this recipe, be sure to buy blood orange juice here and use 1 quart for the recipe.