Wait, Why isn’t that Orange Orange?

That beauty up there that I had the pleasure of eating is called an  Arancia Rossa di Sicilia.  It is a type of orange from Sicily.  They are very sweet when compared to other oranges.  Unlike most oranges, these fruits will usually have a blush to their peal and have a red inside.  I am surprised by how few people have heard of these beautiful and delicious fruits.  Since I get so many questions about them when I sit around eating them, I decided that I would write an article about these beauties.

When talking about the Arancia Rossa di Sicilia it should be noted that it is a regionally protected food.  What does that mean exactly?  What it basically means is that in order to be labeled as an Arancia Rossa di Sicilia it must have been grown on the island of Sicily.  If it comes from anywhere else, it cannot be called an Arancia Rossa di Sicilia and is instead called a blood orange.  The most common is called the “moro blood orange” and can be purchased at most grocery stores and is sold by the Sunkist company.  These are usually grown in California.

The Arancia Rossa di Sicilia come in three varieties.  The most vibrant being from the moro variety of the Arancia Rossa di Sicilia with their mostly red insides.  As beautiful as these oranges are, they only make up about 10% of the harvest that comes from the Italian island.  Tarot oranges have red speckles inside, but still retain their orange colouring.  This type makes up about 60% of the crop harvest.  The second most plentiful orange harvested is the Sanguinello variety and bring in about 30% of oranges harvested.  All three varieties are known for being smaller than most oranges and also have a relatively long growing season.  Their season starts in November and lasts all the way until May!  This could be because the blood oranges were first found in Sicily where they grew in the fertile volcanic soil and cool nights which some believe is the reason they have the red colouring that they are known for.

Maybe eating the orange isn’t your thing.  Maybe you prefer orange juice.  Good news!  Aranciata Rossa can be purchased all over the world thanks to the Sanpellegrino company.  Aranciata Rossa means that this orange juice beverage is made with blood oranges.  Aranciata Rossa is actually an orangeade.  It’s a sparkling beverage.  In other words, if you love soda,but don’t love the calories and also love orange juice then this is for you!  I was introduced to this delightful beverage during my time in Italy where it originated.  Most citrus juices are served as carbonated beverages in Europe and so is most bottled water.  They are served in either a glass bottle or a can.  Sanpellegrino are some of the few non-alcoholic drinks still served in glass bottles where I live.  I love it!  Here is what the bottles look like.

While the blood orange is unusual in colour it is more flavourful than the standard varieties that you find in the market.  They are easy to peal and don’t have many seeds.  If you are lucky enough to live in the central United States and have a Braum’s Restaurant and Fresh Market where you live you can go during the winter months, and sometimes if you are lucky during the summer months as well, and get what is called “Sicilian Orange Sherbet” that is made from Sicilian blood oranges.  It has more of a tangy sweetness to it that other orange sherbets don’t have.  Also, it is made in Oklahoma and that’s where I’m from.  It’s the best of both worlds for me!  Don’t be afraid of this odd coloured orange!  Give a try.  Chances are you’ll probably like it better than other oranges.  I have yet to meet anyone that has thought otherwise.