The Arancia Rossa di Sicilia has been one of the agricultural glories of the island since the Arabs introduced it between the ninth and eleventh centuries AD, creating numerous citrus groves. Although the cultivation of this colorful fruit has only occurred since the nineteenth century, it was already present in the mythical Garden of the Hesperides in Greek mythology, and has been consolidated with the creation of numerous orange groves.
The quality of the Arancia Rossa di Sicilia – produced in the municipalities of eastern Sicily suitable for its cultivation, namely Catania, Enna, Ragusa and Siracusa – is recognized by the Protected Geographical Status brand of quality and is guaranteed by the Consortium of the same name, which defends and promotes the product and its origin, in accordance with the rules laid down by the Production Regulations, safeguarding both the organoleptic properties as well as the cultural tradition.
Under the name of “Arancia Rossa di Sicilia”, there are actually three different varieties: “Tarocco”, “Moro” and “Sanguinello”. These fruits are all globular or ovoid, but the color of their peel and flesh varies: in the first, the peel is orange with ruby red parts and orange pulp with red streaks varying in intensity depending on the time of collection; in the second, the peel is orange with darker shades on one side of the fruit, and the pulp is wine red when fully ripe; in the third, the peel is orange with shades of red and the pulp is orange with red streaks.
The Arancia Rossa di Sicilia is a decidedly healthy fruit: low-calorie, containing about 87 percent water, very little fat, sugar and protein, but with abundant minerals such as calcium, phosphorus, potassium, iron and selenium, and various vitamins, in particular C, A, B1 and B2. It is therefore a valuable ally for staying in shape, but also for the improvement of the response of our immune system especially in the cold winter months.
The uses in the kitchen of this wonderful fruit are many, whether the peel is used the peel is used whole or grated to flavor a dish, or it is candied, or the juice is used to give a special flavor to the recipe or to be the main ingredient. Typical Sicilian cuisine includes the orange salad, simple, light and tasty: the citrus is skinned (namely removing the outer peel and the white membrane), cut into thin slices, and accompanied by other ingredients like fennel or onions, also thinly sliced, and black olives, and finally seasoned with olive oil, salt and black pepper.