As one-third of Monceau’s current Pét-Nat Kombucha trilogy, the Blood Orange kombucha is probably the overall crowd pleaser. It’s one-part tart, one-part sweet, and all parts delicious.
While its descriptive name sounds very ominous, there’s nothing shady going on in the fruits themselves. Instead, Blood Oranges get their name from the incredible crimson red colour of their delicious flesh.
In this post we’re doing a deep dive into the world of blood oranges and why they and kombucha make great pals. First we’ll explore a bit about the fruit itself and what separates it from the regular orange. Then, we’ll look into why blood oranges are such a great fruit for kombucha. We’ll go into a little bit more detail on how we actually make Monceau blood orange and then finish off with a few tips on how best to enjoy it!
What is the ‘blood’ in blood orange?
For all you bleeding hearts: don’t worry, there is no blood shed in the making of these little beauties. Instead, blood oranges get their crimson colour from anthocyanin, which is a chemical naturally occurring in some fruits that works as an all natural hair dye (if we pretend that the hair in this instance is actually fruit). A bunch of fruits we know and love have anthocyanin, including blueberries, cranberries, eggplant, cherries and pomegranates! Anthocyanin produces colours anywhere from crimson, to violet, to blue depending on the levels of acidity in the fruit. The more acidic fruits, like our blood orange, get this wonderful red colour. Anthocyanin can actually only have its colouring effect if the fruits are in the right kind of climate; warm days accompanied by cooler nights. So you won’t find these babies just anywhere in the world.
Are blood oranges better for you than regular oranges?
There’s not a whole heap of difference between blood oranges and regular oranges; they’re both packed with vitamin C. However, the main thing that gives blood oranges a bit of an edge against regular ones is actually due to its anthocyanin! We’re not only getting some awesome colours out of this chemical, it’s also boosting the antioxidant levels. Antioxidants are said to reduce the risk of many diseases, including heart disease and even some types of cancer. What a win!
Are cara cara oranges and blood oranges the same thing?
No! Cara cara oranges are not technically the same as a blood orange, although visually they could be twins. Whilst there’s not a whole lot of difference between them, cara cara oranges do not get their colouring from anthocyanin. Instead, their pinkish-orange hue comes from lycopene; a different colour-producing chemical.
Btw: How can you tell if a blood orange has gone bad?
The best way to tell if a blood orange has gone bad is by checking its skin, softness and smell. If the outside begins to discolour, it becomes very soft and squishy, or it has a bad smell, odds are it’s gone bad. The best way to prevent your fruits going bad is by keeping them in the fridge - they’ll last a lot longer in there than being in room-temperature where they’ll dehydrate quickly.
Why do we use blood oranges in our orange kombucha?
The blood orange is generally less acidic and sweeter than the humble navel orange, making it the perfect candidate to undergo the Monceau Pét-Nat Kombucha double-fermentation process. They’re often said to have flavour notes of other berries, such as strawberries and raspberries, alongside the classic citrus taste.The slight sweetness of the blood orange means that once the fermentation consumes the sugars, we’re not left with a completely bitter and sour drink. Instead, the residual sugars maintain that light sweetness that makes Monceau Blood Orange kombucha so lovely to drink.
Our blood oranges
Blood Oranges originated in the Southern Mediterranean region way back in the 18th century! The climate of the southern Italian and Spanish coasts was the perfect recipe for these little babies to thrive, and I mean, who wouldn’t thrive in that environment?
However, the blood oranges we use for our kombucha are not the charming Italian stallion kind. More recently, southern Australia has come to the forefront of blood orange production. Since the climate down south is quite like the Mediterranean (minus the warm sea and homemade pasta), South Australia became the spot for blood oranges to grow. We wanted to source all the fruits for our Pét-Nat kombucha’s locally, so when we were looking for the perfect blood oranges, we couldn’t go past the South Australian Riverland oranges.
How we make our blood orange kombucha
Monceau blood orange pét-nat kombucha is the name. Double fermentation is the game. Every batch we make is slightly different, lending to the craftiness of craft kombucha. The main difference between the blood orange kombucha to the pear or apple kombucha is just the amount of juice we’ll add to the second fermentation process. Most of the sugar in the first tea-based fermentation is consumed when it comes time to add the blood orange juice.
Since blood oranges have a fair bit less natural sugar than apples and pears, we add a bit more juice to ensure that there’s enough sugar to take the drink through the second ferment.
Ways to enjoy blood orange kombucha
We are currently smack bang in the middle of blood orange season! Blood oranges, like most citrus fruits, are best enjoyed in winter months, leading into early spring. In fact, the closer we get to summer, the further away we get from peak season. So, now’s the time to buy some blood orange kombucha and get experimenting. There’s literally no time to waste!
You may have heard that Monceau is ‘nice on ice’ and that’s no word of a lie. Grab your wine glass, add a couple cubes of ice, and let the orange juices pour. This way of enjoying Monceau blood orange is the best way to truly appreciate the flavours. A non-alcoholic drink that is sweet, tart, citrusy and fruity – need we say more?
Booze it up with a little gin
Monceau doesn’t have to be only for the non-alc drinkers! We’ve discovered that gin and Monceau blood orange kombucha are quite the pairing. Since gin is distilled primarily with juniper berries, it really pulls out the subtle berry flavours of the blood orange. Create a fruity twist on the classic gin and tonic by replacing some of the tonic with Monceau blood orange kombucha! Or shake it up with some egg whites, lime juice and simple syrup for a blood orange sour! Honestly, the gin + blood orange kombucha combinations are endless.
To sum up…
Blood oranges are a pretty unique little fruit. We love the edge they have flavour-wise and how well they ferment. There’s always a reason to celebrate their wonders, why not do so with some blood orange booch?
Grazie mille, arancia rossa!