Native to Italy, tarocco blood oranges are one of the most popular orange varieties, not only for their characteristic ruby red blush but also for their superior sweetness and high vitamin C content.
The distinctive yet delicately flavoured citrus fruit originally hails from the southern Italian island of Sicily, where they still grow on the fertile slopes of Mount Etna.
This Sicilian blood orange with a difference is prized for its juicy sweetness, but also for its enticing colourful half-blushed flesh with a distinctive berry like taste - a phenomenon brought about by the release of natural red pigments (anthocyanins) produced during dramatic temperature fluctuation. Hence, chilly winters are perfect for yielding the most colourful oranges.
Blood orange nutrition
And if that weren't reason enough to tear open a tarocco, these sweet seedless oranges are also an excellent source of vitamin C, as well as being rich in antioxidants and containing potassium, folate and dietary fiber.
Blood orange season
Blood oranges grow during the summer and mature in the autumn, ready to harvest in December and January, still by hand according to tradition.
WATCH: check out the S.Pellegrino live cam to a Sicilian citrus grove: watch your citrus.
Types of blood orange
Among the most common blood oranges are:
The sanguinello and moro varieties tend to have a more accentuated dark-ruby flesh than the tarocco variety.
A separate category must be made for the blood oranges of Sicily, among which some varieties that represent the national and international excellences of this wonderful fruit stand out:
- Sanguinello moscato
- Messina tarot
- Rooster tarot
- Red tarot
- Common moor
- Common sanguinello
Tarocco blood orange recipes
Traditionally tarocco oranges can be enjoyed just as they are, although in Sicily they are also popular made into a fresh and spectacular salads. Try this recipe for a traditional Sicilian orange salad.
Or, if you want to try another twist on dessert try making wonderfully refreshing jelly with your tarocco oranges - here's the recipe for blood orange and Prosecco jelly.
If you're looking for a hot drink with a twist, try enjoying blood oranges with mint tea - here's the recipe:
If you have a sweet tooth try baking your tarocco oranges into a stunning citrus tart decorated with blood orange slices - here's the recipe.