The Town of Oranges

Blonde, juicy, and without seeds. The orange of Ribera appears with these characteristics. Besides receiving a DOP (protected denomination of origin) acknowledgment, it is famous because its juice reaches 40% of its whole weight. This feature makes it delicious for its juices, but also because of its healthy qualities: vitamin C, simple sugars, and mineral salts.

The orange of Ribera, known with the registered trademark ‘Riberella’, is a citrus which sets many records: besides being one of the most juicy oranges, it is on top of the sweetness list. In order to meet every requirement, the orange Ribera proposes three varieties: ‘Brasiliano Washington Navel’, ‘Navelina’, and Vaniglia, all of them without seeds. ‘Brasiliano’ and ‘Washington Navel’ are actually two types of blonde oranges, very similar because of their spherical shape, a fair largeness, and, above all, fine and solid pulp, very pleasant thanks to the contrast between crispness and juiciness, without any trace of either sour or bitter flavour. ‘Navelina’, on the other hand, is the less juicy, but sweeter and more perfumed one, with an intense colour, and is especially suitable for using it in cooking. ‘Vaniglia’, besides being very perfumed, has the characteristic of a very low acidity and, above all, among the citruses all over the world, is the one with the thinner pellicle among its segments. This is another record, thanks to which this variety is one of the most digestible ones, suitable for children, too.

An excellent land

Ribera is a big municipality in the province of Agrigento, whose land is very far from the stereotype of a dry and sunny Sicily. It faces the hills which slope down the wonderful sea in view of Tunisia. Here the country benefits by an intense sun all year round, with agriculture of excellence thanks to spring waters and different rivers. Oranges are the last, but most successful and famous example of production concerning this land, which for centuries has given to all the Mediterranean Countries almonds, olives, wine, and cotton. The argillaceous and at the same time calcareous land is of course ideal for the growth of citruses, and industrial agricultural interventions are not needed. The oranges of Ribera allowed to let know this part of Sicily all over the world, so that it is universally known as the town of oranges and entered the international net of ‘towns where it is possible to live well’, with a big development of rural tourism in every season of the year.

Organic and guaranteed freshness

The export of oranges of Ribera is aiming at these two trends. The proximity to the big ports of Sicily, but also to well structured airports, excellent preservability, due to its botanic characteristics, allowed the success of these oranges, which can reach every corner of the world within 48 hours from their picking. They are very sweet and without seeds, and therefore are especially appreciated by both English and Scandinavian market. They boast a production of about 3,000 tons, more than 500 of which are destined to export. The choice of organic cultivation has been made by many local operators and is facilitated by the characteristic of a low environmental and agricultural impact on the whole land. The production of organic juices is especially appreciated and by now widespread in both home and international markets.

The oranges of Ribera, with their resistant skins and beautiful colours, do not need any special packaging for exalting their qualities. The standard distribution is made either in containers in wood, plastic, or cardboard, up to a maximum weight of 25 kilos, or in reinforced sacks up to a maximum weight of 5 kilos. The Consortium for the protection of Ribera Orange of Sicily, which has been active since 1994, allows to use the company stamp, too, in a very scrupulous respect for the characteristic of these oranges. The local production centres offer far bigger packagings, too, for the transformation in juices.

Ribera oranges in cooking

Thanks to their sweet and perfumed flavour, these oranges are mainly used in preparing fish and salads, thanks to their especially thin internal pellicles, too. Among many curiosities, it is possible to highlight that every orange, irrespective of their largeness or variety, almost always contains 11 segments. Among the most famous recipes, there are ‘tagliolini’, a type of thicker spaghetti, seasoned with orange sauce, orange jam tart, and the famous starter with oranges and anchovies prepared with oranges, small onions, anchovies in oil of the gastronomic tradition of Sicily, black olives, fennels, extra-virgin olive oil, salt, pepper, and vinegar. Orange marmalades are much appreciated. They allow using little sugar, thanks to the special sweetness of their raw material. The traditional addition of their skin makes them especially perfumed.

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