Rise and Shine in Orange

What in winter makes me get up with [a little more] enthusiasm is the morning freshly squeezed juice. Besides the very well-known Navel oranges, in Italy we have the oranges from Sicily that are excellent. Besides oranges, tangerines (here called Mandarines) and kumquats, we also have the fantastic, sweet-scented Bergamot.

Bergamot

A freshly squeezed Bergamot is perfect to start the day thanks to its energizing properties, the Bergamot juice is very suitable to fight stress and depression, thanks to its relaxing action! It is used in aroma therapy or eaten in wedges in salads or to flavor various dishes. Its taste is so pure and intense that it needs to be lengthened in water. It keeps all the properties of the fruit unaltered. Eaten regularly fresh Bergamot fruit and/or Bergamot juice can significantly reduce the level of bad cholesterol in the blood, and therefore the risk of incurring cardiovascular disease.

If instead you want to use it as a thirst-quencher and digestive, the juice of a fruit can be diluted with mineral water and sweetened with a teaspoon of honey, or even diluted with orange juice, tonic water (excellent) or Coke. Use it according to your imagination for any type of alcoholic drink or non-alcoholic.

Production is mostly limited to the Ionian Sea coastal areas of the province of Reggio di Calabria in Italy, it is indeed the symbol of the city. Most of the Bergamot comes from a short stretch of land there, where the temperature is favourable. Bergamot is best known as Bergamot essential oil; a cold-pressed essential oil produced by cells inside the rind of a Bergamot orange fruit 

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Disclaimer: Bergamot Essential oil should not be used directly on the skin! For the juice (like for the pineapple) ask your doctor because it should not be taken with certain medicines.

Tarocco Oranges

So this week and for the next few we can console ourselves with large doses of Tarocco oranges. They are the most common “sanguine” variety in Italy, with a fine peel and with a bright red pulp, they have a good sweet and sour taste and a pleasant scent. They are ideal for juices or Sicilian salad, prepared with oranges cut into slices and seasoned with freshly ground black pepper, a little oil, drops of lemon and some olives, and salt. Their price varies according to the size, from 1 Euro per kg., up to 3 Euro for bigger ones from particular quality selections. 

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The provinces of Syracuse, Catania and Enna is the area of production of the Orange Red of IGP/PGI (Italian Protected Designation of Origin (PDO)Protected Geographical Indication (PGI) as defined in the Council Regulation CE 510/2006).  An area where there are particular climatic conditions that favor the particular pigmentation and an inimitable taste, different from any other orange. It is in particular the Etna volcano, which dominates the territory of the plain of Catania, to create the ideal conditions for this cultivation.

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Other Varieties

Moro and Sanguinelle are also part of the selective list. Both are two really good varieties to compete with the Tarocco. Moro Oranges keep their characteristics for less time and therefore they can not travel too much. Oblong and with red pulp and almost without seeds, they ripe in early December, but the fruits reach their best characteristics about a month later. The fruits have a medium size and intense orange color, with purple-red pigmented areas when ripe.

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Sanguinella has red pulp, low sugar and high citric acid content, ripens in February but is kept on plants until April. The shape is also oblong.

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I lived the most part of my life in Washington DC, now in Italy getting to know again my country. Plenty of surprises, for good and bad, and lots of nostalgia for DC.

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