Blood orange of Sicily, the story of the “golden apple” of Italy

The climatic conditions and the unique characteristics of the Sicilian territory have been precious resources for the birth of the cultivation of blood orange. Catania, Enna and Syracuse are the geographical areas to which theProtected Geographical Indication (PGI), recognized for the following varieties of blood oranges: Tarocco, Moro and Sanguinello. The presence of anthocyanins gives the orange its characteristic red colour, making it known all over the world. But what do we know about its origin?

Blood Orange of Sicily: history and origins

It is not easy to establish precisely when citrus fruits arrived in Sicily, but they certainly arrived a long time ago and their origin is to be found in China. In the’Mediterranean area the blood orange was widespread, however it was mostly used for religious and ornamental purposes. Between the tenth and twelfth centuries, however, things changed: the Arabi contributed to making this tasty fruit known among the population of southern Italy. No longer a simple ornament, now the orange was edible to all intents and purposes and known for its many properties. It is said that the introduction of pigmented oranges in Sicily was instead thanks to a Genoese missionary returning from the Philippines, as reported by the Jesuit Ferrari in the work Hesperides of 1646.

The real one cultivation of oranges in Sicily, however, it will begin only after 1800, especially in the province of Catania. Over the years the cultivation of blood oranges has become more and more massive and its role more and more important in the Sicilian economy, increasing not only the productions but also the areas invested. There Sicily it remains the only region in the world where blood oranges of such a high quality standard are produced. The Red typical of the peel and the sweet taste are precisely given by the soil of the hilly area and the plain surrounding the volcanic relief of Etna which, precisely due to the effect of the temperature ranges present in the area, gives the orange a taste and a unique appearance to the world.

Properties and benefits

L’Sicilian blood orange it is a rich source of fiber, vitamins A, C, B1, B2, K, PP, but also of folate, citric acid, calcium and cyanidin. It is precisely these and other nutritional properties that make this fruit an excellent ally for the well-being of our body. There vitamin C, especially in the world, is very present in this variety of oranges rather than in others and it is the latter that protects our body with its antioxidant properties. On the other hand, molecules such as cyanidin are associated with panti-inflammatory properties e anticancer. But not only that, it also appears to reduce bad cholesterol and ensure good stomach and eyesight health, as well as prevent obesity and reduce the effects of diabetes.

I folate present in the blood orange are essential to meet the folic acid needs of the female body during pregnancy. And the Vitamin Kon the other hand, to counteract low blood pressure thanks also to a low concentration of sodium, while the fiber it helps correct intestinal transit by promoting the correct absorption of sugars and cholesterol. Little curiosity: a blood orange has more vitamin C than a lemon!

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