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.
The crop is faring better this year compared to the last few years. Availability is adequate, and prices are competitive. The size of the blood orange is small in comparison; however, the quality of the juice and the oil is up to the mark. There has been an extended period of aridity and a drought-like situation during the summer. This has affected the pace of production; processing is relatively sluggish.
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