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The Red Gold of Sicily

Updated: Aug 26, 2019

Blood red oranges from Sicily, the queen of oranges, one of the sweetest of its type, also known as Tarocco. This orange has the highest vitamin C content compared to all the varieties of oranges around the world. It is considered the ultimate healthy fruit. The reason why these oranges have such quality compared to the variety of oranges, is because of Mount Etna.

Did you know that Mount Etna is the highest volcano in Europe! Could this be the reason why these oranges are blood red? Maybe the lava has something to do with it? This volcano is still active, actually it’s one of the world’s most active volcanoes!

Mount Etna is located at the East coast of Sicily Italy in the City of Catania. Its height reaches 10,912 ft making it the highest peak in Italy south of the Alps.

The soil surrounding this volcano combined with the weather produces the perfect conditions for growing the best quality oranges.

The contrast between the snow on Etna and the warm sun of the island generates the ideal thermal excursion creating the growth of a red pigmentation in the oranges. The red pigment contains anthocyanin a type of flavonoid, a compound with antioxidant effects. Besides the benefits of antioxidants and fighting free radicals, anthocyanin could offer anti-inflammatory, anti-viral, and anti-cancer benefits.

The blood red oranges from Sicily were awarded the PGI (Protected Geographical Indication) mark by the European Union. This designation is created for regional foods that have specific quality, reputation and characteristics attributed to its area.

Every year at the end of February the oldest village in the province of Catania, Palagonia, becomes the host to a fantastic festival where these blood oranges take center stage. Throughout the week, the imagination explodes as they create the most diverse and delicious dishes and beverages with this fruit.

Fun Fact: It is said that during medieval times they considered blood red oranges as the potion that grants eternal youth: “The elixir of life”.

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