​When the Orange Clock Works...

A new, sweet variety of orange: 
A blood red orange - it’s sweet, it’s healthy!

Fond of a sweetness in your palate but avoid candy? Then you’ll probably be pleased to discover a new variety of orange now available on sale in Israeli markets: an orange of the Moro cultivar, a blood-red orange. This special cultivar, the Moro Nusleri Sanguinello, as it is professionally known, comes to us directly from Sicily. Wrapped within its peel this orange contains numerous health properties. From the outside it may seem like any other orange, only with a red peel. But when it is opened, we find a blood-red orange instead of the yellowish pulp we’re all familiar with. 

In recent months, the Training & Professional Services (SHOHAM) experts have been working to acclimatize the new cultivar to our local climate. The blood orange has special weather-dependent properties. This orange is nowadays planted in two areas: the coastal plain and the Hula Valley, mainly in the low-lying areas, to capture the beneficial effects of the localized cold on this cultivar. At the moment some 140 Dunams have been planted, providing about 500 tons to the local market between January and March.

Besides the high-quality vitamin C this orange contains, not unlike all other citrus fruits we know, its special color contains the pigment anthocyanin. This is what gives the fruit its distinctive red color. This is similar to the pigment that colors grapes and pomegranates red. The anthocyanin, which is prevalent in the new cultivar, delivering about 150 milligrams per liter, is known for its numerous health properties as an antioxidant and as a delayer of the aging process.

An experimental plot of the Moro orange has been planted at the Ministry of Agriculture R&D Lachish in an effort to obtain a new line of larger, sweeter, more abundant fruit with a higher anthocyanin level. This special orange, which is now approaching the peak of its ripeness, has begun showing up in Israeli markets. It will continue to be available on the shelves until March. Its fruit may not be big, but it contains plenty of juice and is suitable for juicing. So drink up!