Sicilian blood oranges

Sicily is known as the land of oranges. Their scent fills the air with springtime joy (Guy de Maupassant).

Sicilian blood Oranges are cultivated only in the Piana di Catania, in some villages in Enna and Siracusa. They are unique in taste and nutritional value.

This extraordinary fruit is a result of its unique red pulp due to its proximity to the active volcano Etna.

Wintertime is when the heat of the island’s sun and Etna snows creates a thermal excursion that causes the fruit to develop a red pigmentation. This pigment is rich in anthocyanin which has strong antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties. It’s also high in vitamin A making our orange unique.

Citrus fruit grove in Palagonia – ph. Massimo Calcagno

Let’s look at the three varieties currently on the market.

The Moro Orange, which has dark red pulp, is slightly oval. This is a delicious table orange that can also be used to make juice. It is rich in minerals, low-fat and high in citric acid. It is the first blood orange to ripen, and is available for purchase from December through February.

The Tarocco variety is the most loved of all Sicilian red-pulp orange varieties. This table fruit is considered the “queen of oranges” because it is round, easy to peel, and has no seeds. It is slightly clearer at the beginning of the season, but it turns more red as Mount Etna snows. You can enjoy it from December through April.

The sanguinello, or blood orange, is also seedless. It has a red pulp with a vinous flavor. It is highly juicy and recommended for people who do sports. It is usually available until March, although it ripens in February.

Sicilian blood Oranges – Ph. Bruno Munzone

Citrus fruit has been used since antiquity for medicinal, cosmetic and decorative purposes. This is due to their fragrance and multiple nutritional principles.

Oranges were believed to possess magic powers in ancient times. In the Middle Ages, citrus fruits were thought to be a remedy for snakebite poisoning and even the elixir for life.

Each year, the last Week of February is when orange production reaches its peak. In Palagonia (a small town in Catania), the Blood Orange Festival is held. You can enjoy delicious citrus dishes and the refreshing juice of this fruit on the streets of the center of the city.

Salad made with bood oranges, tangerines and apples of Piana di Catania, apples, and peers of Etna – ph. Bruno Munzone

Here are some easy, healthy recipes, including desserts and salads.

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