Intense aroma, bright color and juicy pulp, Sicilian citrus have long been known for their excellent organoleptic characteristics.
The history of Sicilian citrus originated in Asia, in the regions of China and Indonesia in fact were discovered around the year 1000 a.c. the first citrus shrubs.
Soon also the people of Iraq began to know these fruits spreading them up to Greece.
However, it was only in rather recent times, around 1800, that Sicily began to increase the production of oranges, lemons and cedars encouraged by the need to respond to the supply requests of the Royal Navy that occupied the Sicilian territory.
At that time there was a strong expansion of the land dedicated to the cultivation of citrus fruits with a result in production such as to place Sicily among the international leaders in the export of citrus fruits mainly to the USA, England and Russia.
Currently in Sicily 60% of the land is engaged in the production of citrus fruits with unique characteristics in the world: the intense red pigmentation of the orange Sanguinello and the unmistakable flavor of tangerines, lemons and cedars. The unmistakable taste of Sicilian citrus: oranges, lemons and tangerines
Sicily has always been considered the land of citrus, first of all the orange.
The red variety is certainly the most characteristic of the island: Tarocco, sanguinello and moro have a dark red color of the internal pulp due to the presence of anthocyanin pigments that react to the significant temperature change during the winter season in the territories on the slopes of Etna.
Here in fact the climate can reach up to 20 degrees during the day and drop to 5 degrees at night.
Another variety cultivated in the Ribera area is represented by Navel oranges.
Of Brazilian derivation, this fruit has a bright orange pulp and a small hollow on the skin near the petiole reminiscent of a navel, in English navel.
The Sicilian orange peel is rich in essential oil used in the beverage and candy industry thanks to the high content of carotenoids and valencene.
The Sicilian lemon is among the best in the world and is present in the region in two different varieties: Femminello di Siracusa and Interdonato di Messina.
The third flowering of Femminello gives life to the so-called Verdello so called for the intense color of the skin that tends to green rather than yellow as for the other varieties.
This type has excellent organoleptic characteristics and is specific to the period between August and late October.
The Mandarin, introduced in Europe as an ornamental plant in 800, arrived in Malta through the English as a curiosity of botany and from here landed in Sicily where thanks to the climate and the characteristics of the soil it found an ideal habitat to spread rapidly.
The most cultivated varieties are Havana and Tardivo di Ciaculli which takes its name from the area where it was discovered in the province of Palermo.
Its characteristics are the exceptional taste and the late ripening compared to Havana which is harvested from November to February.
The essential oil of Mandarin is known for its sweet and fresh fragrance and its antibacterial and astringent properties.
The added value of Sicilian citrus
Sicily today holds a prominent position in the production of citrus fruits of unparalleled quality compared to the rest of the world mainly for its excellent organoleptic characteristics.
The constant growth in the demand for Sicilian citrus fruits has encouraged the research and development of new specialties in order to increase the supply.
The continuous technological investments together with the collaborations with the producers in order to guarantee the traceability of the raw materials intend to satisfy the demand supplying a product always better quality.
The focus on environmental sustainability also translates into the implementation of practices to limit waste and recover production waste.