Among the different types of blood orange, the undisputed queen is certainly the tarocco blood orange, known and appreciated all over the world even though its origin is Italian, Sicilian in particular. Tarocco orange has a juicy and sweet pulp streaked with red. The red color is given by antioxidant substances, called anthocyanins, which are formed in the presence of particular climatic conditions, such as hot days and cold nights. Anthocyanins are present only in this type of oranges while they are absent in other citrus fruits (Grosso et al, Oxid Med Cell Longev, 2013).
Tarocco oranges, properties
Tarocco oranges are seedless oranges and, among the different types of blood orange, such as Moro and Sanguinello, are the sweetest and richest in taste. These oranges are characterized by a high presence of vitamin C, greater than 55 mg per 100 grams of product. Not only that, this type of oranges also brings valuable antioxidant substances with an antitumor and antidiabetic action, called anthocyanins, even if in smaller quantities than the Moro blood orange variety, and flavonoids, especially hesperidin (Cebadera Miranda et al, Food Chem, 2019 ). Indeed, the juice of tarocco oranges is the richest in hesperidin when compared with the juice of other blood and blonde oranges (Proteggente et al, Free Radic Res, 2003). Hesperidin is a compound with an inhibitory effect against the development of neurodegenerative diseases, such as Alzheimer's and Parkinson's, it counteracts the action of free radicals, is antitumor, by promoting apoptosis, namely programmed death, of diseased cells, and protects the heart since it helps to control cholesterol, triglycerides and blood sugar (Hajialyani et al, Molecules, 2019). Tarocco blood orange has also been shown to counteract inflammation and to support defenses against sore throats, colds and coughs (Cardile et al, Phytother Res, 2010). Not only that, tarocco oranges improve endothelial function and the elasticity of blood vessels (Grosso et al, Oxid Med Cell Longev, 2013).
Tarocco oranges and storage
Do Tarocco oranges that are not eaten immediately but stored in the refrigerator or at room temperature change their nutritional profile? It seems they don’t, at least for the first three months. In fact, scientific studies (Rapisarda et al, J Agric Food Chem, 2001) have assessed that both storage at low temperatures, around 8° C, and storage at room temperature, around 22° C, do not change the quantity of vitamin C present in tarocco oranges. This does not happen with other types of blood oranges, such as Moro oranges, which instead see their vitamin C levels significantly reduced in any way they are stored. As for the quantity of anthocyanins, storing tarocco oranges in the refrigerator increases the presence of these beneficial substances.