In Greek mythology , oranges are described as fabulous” Golden Apples” from the garden of the Hesperides. Citrus fruits thus became a symbol of fertility and love; bringing to men these golden globes reserved for the gods was one of the labors that Hercules had to carry out. The term “orange” probably derives from the Sanskrit Nagaranja, which means “favourite fruit of elephants”. Still today the origin is a matter of study, the Arabs introduced the oranges first in Asia Minor, Egypt, North Africa and the Mediterranean Europe after having known these fruits presumably in India. It is certain that oranges were already diffused in the Mediterranean area only for ornamental or religious purposes. This is the reason why still today the fields with orange trees are called “gardens”.
From the second half of the 1800s the cultivations in Sicily increased in number and towards the end of the century the farmers began to plant oranges no longer only in the hilly slopes or in the flat area but in organized areas only for citrus fruits, such as those on the slopes of Etna dug with dynamite. It is here that the pigmented pulp”Aurantium indicum” fruit (purpurei coloris medulla), considered the ancestor of blood oranges in Sicily, is mentioned for the first time. On the island since the mid-1900s the cultivation of blood oranges has assumed an increasingly important role in the agricultural economy, coming to characterize its fertile territory and become a true symbol of this land kissed by the sun.
Today oranges are not only simple fruits but they are also used for different purposes both for kitchen recipes and for beauty products.