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Native to Italy, tarocco blood oranges are one of the most popular orange varieties, not only for their characteristic ruby red blush but 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 not only prized for its juicy sweetness, but the enticing ruby red flesh with a distinctive berry like taste- a phenomenon bought 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 blood 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
Tarocco have also been successfully naturalised in the US where they grow happily in Florida. But if you can't get your hands on some of these delicately flavoured treats, you can always try Moro and Sanguinello which are also prized for their reddish rind and dark, juicy flesh.
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 refresing 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.