Italy has an interesting type of citrus sinensis called ‘Blood Orange’. Blood orange is red in colour due to the anthocyanin pigment present (this is also a good anti-oxidant). The oil is unique because of the high carotenoid content and its sweet taste.
The three most common types of blood oranges are the Tarocco (native to Italy), the Sanguinello (native to Spain), and the Moro, the newest variety of the three.
The main use for the oil is in beverage markets for its naturally fresh and sweet taste and it has a natural colouring agent to add a redness to any drink. The Italian harvest season runs from February to early May. The typical oil yields are relatively small at around 2.5gm per kilo of fruit.
Italy is the second largest European orange producer. Sicily and Calabria are its main orange-producing areas, and account for 59% and 22% of total production respectively. The top orange varieties produced in the country are Tarocco, Moro, Sanguinello, and Navelineare. The major growing region was affected firstby drought and then heavy rains. Even now there are reports of lack of rainfall, leading to slower than expected production. The current season is one of the better ones in recent years. There is availability of sufficient crop at reasonable prices. Though theorange fruit is small, the quality of the juice and the oil is reported to be up to the mark.
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