Moro Blood Orange Trees
The ‘Connoisseur’s Citrus’
Moro Blood Orange is a variety of orange (Citrus sinensis) with crimson, blood-colored flesh. The fruit is smaller than an average orange. Its skin is usually pitted, but can be smooth.
Blood oranges are called the ‘connoisseur’s citrus‘ because they are sweet and highly flavored with a hint of strawberry and raspberry aftertaste. The name ‘Blood’ derives from its red blotches on the fruit’s skin and its reddish flesh and juice coloring.
The Moro Blood Orange is the most common of the pigmented oranges marketed in the U.S. It is a hybrid of ancient origin, possibly between the pomelo and the tangerine believed to have originated at the beginning of the 19th century in the citrus-growing area around Lentini (in the Province of Siracusa in Sicily. The orange-colored peel is commonly blushed with a burgundy color.
The Moro blood orange is the most brightly colored of the blood oranges. Anthocyanin, a pigment common to many flowers and fruit, (but uncommon in citrus fruits) is the same pigment that colors purple grapes) and is responsible for its distinctive flesh color and rind blush.
The blood orange is a very popular fruit along the Mediterranean Sea. The fruit of the Moro Blood Orange tree is of medium size and is very productive. Moro is also the earliest ripening of the blood oranges and usually ripens in the late winter and early spring in addition to being hardy to about 27 degrees F. The fruit is orange colored at maturity with light pink blush or red streaks at advanced maturity. It is juicy, deeply pigmented (almost violet-red) with a pleasant flavor.
The Moro Blood Orange tree is of medium vigor and size, spreading and round topped; very productive fruit (generally in clusters of three or more).
The Moro is the most colorful of the three types, with a deep purple flesh and reddish orange rind. This fruit has a distinct, sweet flavor with a hint of raspberry particular to blood oranges. Moro are “full-blood” oranges, meaning that the flesh ranges from orange-veined with ruby coloration, to vermilion, to vivid crimson, and nearly to black.
Health Benefits of Oranges
Oranges provide more fiber than any of the top 20 fruits or vegetables consumed today. Eating a medium-sized orange provides 28 percent of the recommended daily amount of dietary fiber. Sicilian Red oranges contain nutritional and preventive properties. A good source of Vitamin C, the fruit’s red pigment, anthocyanin, is an antioxidant that reduces the risks associated with many ailments, including age-related illnesses.
Blood oranges contain about 130% of the recommended amounts of Vitamin C, and diminish the risk of heart disease, some types of cancer and “bad” cholesterol build-up. They may also reduce the risk of cataracts. One medium-size orange contains 260 milligrams of potassium, 15% of the FDA’s daily recommendation. Potassium also lowers blood pressure, decreasing the risk of heart attacks and strokes, helps to regulate heart rhythm, and affects body growth and maintenance.
Oranges can also be a valuable source of iron, calcium and vitamin A.