The flesh can range in color from orange with light blushes of pink to a deeper ruby red, depending on growing temperatures. The soft flesh is also nearly seedless, juicy, and is divided into 10-12 segments by thin membranes. Tarocco blood oranges are the sweetest of all the blood orange varieties and have a bright and balanced flavor with tangy notes of raspberry.
The red color is the result of anthocyanin, which develops when these citrus fruits ripen during warm days tempered with cooler nights.
Anthocyanin, the pigment that gives the red color to blood oranges, starts to develop along the edges of the peel and then follows the edges of the segments before moving into the flesh. So blood oranges can be lined or streaked with red instead of fully blood-colored, depending on the season, when they were harvested, and their particular variety.
Blood oranges tend to be easier to peel than other oranges, often have fewer seeds, and have a sweeter taste. Their season is short, so they can be harder to find and more expensive than naval or other common oranges.
Native to Italy, tarocco blood oranges are one of the most popular orange varieties, not only for their characteristic ruby red blush but their superior sweetness and high vitamin C content.
The distinctive yet delicately flavoured citrus fruit originally hails from the southern Italian island of Sicily where they still grow on the fertile slopes of Mount Etna.
This sicilian blood orange with a difference is not only prized for its juicy sweetness, but the enticing ruby red flesh with a distinctive berry like taste- a phenomenon bought about by the release of natural red pigments (anthocyanins) produced during dramatic temperature fluctuation. Hence chilly winters are perfect for yielding the most colourful oranges.
Blood oranges are also an excellent source of vitamin C, as well as being rich in antioxidants and containing potassium, folate and dietary fiber.
The blood orange is a natural mutation of the orange, which is itself a hybrid, probably between the pomelo and the tangerine, Within Europe, the arancia rossa di Sicilia (red orange of Sicily) has Protected Geographical Status. In the Valencian Community, it was introduced in the second half of the 19th century.