Tarocco Blood Orange
Ripening period: December – March
Excellent eaten in slices or squeezed, with a “mottled red” color, this orange is considered the “queen of oranges”. Its peel is very thin, the taste is sweet, and the aroma is delicate, evoking the taste of orange and strawberries. Its juice contains the highest quantity of vitamin C out of all citruses. The nucellar variety of the Tarocco is certainly the most tasty, and the delicate peel together with the long thorns that characterize the plant, certainly make this a delicate fruit. Due to the fact that we do not use wax in the production phase, the only instruments we use to prevent premature deterioration of the fruits are carefulness in pruning and harvesting. We also allow a couple of days to pass before we select the fruits so that any damage or weak spots can be more evident. If, despite our careful selection, some fruits should arrive to you with certain softer patches, those fruits should be the ones to be eaten first!
Moro Blood Orange
Ripening period: January – February
With a smooth peel free of any imperfections, this fruit is excellent eaten in slices or squeezed. The color is “wine red”. Out of all oranges, the Moro contains the highest quantity of anthocyanin. The presence of this substance in its juice makes this orange variety particularly precious in preventing and slowing down vascular dysfunctions due to ageing. It is cultivated in a limited area of Eastern Sicily, with the particular conditioning qualities of the Mount Etna vulcano micro climate.
Sanguinello Blood Orange
Ripening period: March – April
This is the least widespread of the blood oranges, its name evokes the typical “sanguigno” “bloody” color of the fruit, which is due to the elevated presence of anthocyanins. The peel of this fruit is a mottled orange color, the aroma is delicate and the taste is sweet, less “decisive” in comparison to the Moro, thus more pleasant to the palate, both when eaten in slices or squeezed. The internal pigmentation of the fruit is entirely due to the climate. In order to obtain the densely red color, a strong temperature range is needed throughout the ripening season, without which the fruit would result more pale and more similar to the Tarocco orange. The Sanguinello is certainly one of the most antique cultivations in Sicily to have reached our times, and this is also due to the fruit’s particular characteristics. However, in order to have oranges available for a longer period of time throughout the year, the ripening of this fruit that is exclusively from February through March, has made it necessary to plant other orange varieties as well.
Tarocco Sant’Alfio Blood Orange
Ripening period: May
This is a Tarocco orange that has been cross bred with a Valencia orange. Its peel is lightly papillary, the fruit is excellent eaten in slices or squeezed. The pulp is a dense orange color, it is lightly pigmented and very juicy. This fruit can be considered a “late” blood orange. Its name derives from the fact that the harvest coincides with the celebrations of Sant’Alfio, the patron of Lentini.
Ripening period: January – March
The sour orange is harvested between January and February and it derives its name from the sour and bitter taste which evokes the taste of grapefruit and lemon, as well as that of orange. It has a very thick peel and an abundant quantity of seeds. I find it very quenching, especially when I find myself picking one in the middle of the summer, when the sun is beating on my head. Eating it in slices is an experience that not everyone appreciates, thus I do not feel like recommending it for meals. This fruit is however very appreciated for making preserves, candied peels and gelatines, for which there are interesting recipes. Differently from all of the other orange varieties that we cultivate, this plant is born from a seed and not a graft. In fact this plant’s wide circulation is due to its past function as a graft carrier. By cutting the trunk two palms length above ground level, the varieties that one wants to grow can be planted in these trees. This function has however reached a certain limit, due to a virus known as “tristeza”, which causes incompatibility between the majority of grafts and the sour orange base, causing the deterioration and death of the plant, independently of the age of the tree or the graft.
At our farm in Trigona we cultivate XX trees of sour oranges. Thankfully, the ungrafted plants do not show symptoms of the disease, hence we will be able to continue offering this fruit to you in the future. The fertilization is the same as for other citruses, seasoned sheep manure, residue, straw and hay mulch, and leguminous plant associations.
Ripening period: November – January
The Navelina orange is a fruit that tends to be more sweet than sour, with a delicate taste. This certainly makes it very popular, but, in my opinion, not the strongest “representative” of citruses, which should actually be slightly sour. The fruit has a generally large size, the peel is callous and thick, which makes it a very resistant fruit, both before and after harvesting. The skin is also valuable for making candied fruit. On the lower part, the fruit has a “navel” from which it derives its name, which coincides with a “twin” fruit that develops on the inside of the main fruit. The pulp is more fibrous in comparison to blood oranges, which makes it more unrefined and less delicate when eaten in slices. This fruit has the great quality of being precocious so that, even if it is not the finest, it permits us to start enjoying citruses from the very beginning of winter. It is also an excellent orange to add in slices in a green salad, with a salt, oil, and red wine vinegar dressing.
Ripening period: May – June
The Valencia orange is the most cultivated and known blond orange in the world. It has a round shape, slightly pressed at the ends, and a light orange colored peel. Due to its high juice yield, almost complete lack of seeds and strong aroma, it is, par excellence, the best orange to squeeze. Another peculiar characteristic of the Valencia orange is the total absence of limonene, a hydrocarbon that confers the typical sour taste to orange peels. This makes the Valencia orange very sought after for transformation, both for juice and for making preserves and candied fruit. The fruits are medium sized, the pulp is yellow and quite fibrous. It is a late fruit that comes to our tables from April up until mid June.
Ripening period: April – May
It has a “navel” just like the Navel orange, it is a “blonde” orange, with a yellow pulp and almost no seeds. The fruit grows primarily in hilly areas and has found in the provinces of Catania, Siracusa and Ragusa an ideal climate to prosper and yield fruits that are sweet and pleasant both visually and smell and appetite wise. The fruits are delicious both eaten and squeezed.