The Oranges of “San Giuseppe”

26.04.2022

Calabrian citrus fruits stand out from the others for their excellent organoleptic characteristics; for these reasons they are well known and highly appreciated not only in Italy but also abroad.

Among the oranges grown in Calabria we certainly remember the late growing orange Biondo di Trebisacce, which flourishes in the vicinity of the homonymous municipality of the Upper Ionian Cosentino between the sea and the Pollino mountains.

In the wake of the latter we also find another cultivar that is born much further south of Trebisacce and that certainly deserves a place of honor.

San Giuseppe Oranges

Let’s talk about the San Giuseppe Orange. Like the Biondo di Trebisacce, the San Giuseppe Orange is also a niche on the market. It is grown at about 350 meters above sea level, in the pre -mountain belt of the Aspromonte between the Gallico and Catona rivers, and takes its name from the hamlet of the municipality of Reggio Calabria, Villa San Giuseppe.

The San Giuseppe Orange, present in the Belladonna and Biondo Tardivo varieties, has been produced for some years by any local companies and, afterwards, included in the Ark of Taste of the Slow Food Foundation for biodiversity.

The plant is of medium vigor and expanded foliage, round in shape, not very dense. The leaves are elliptical, of an intense green color, with a slightly rounded apex. Belonging to the species of orange Citrus sinensis , this orange has an ovoid (or sub-ovoid) shape with a skin of medium thickness and an intense orange color.

San Giuseppe orange trees

It weighs about 200 gr. The taste is sweet (mostly between May and June), its blond pulp is rich in juice and is seedless, or it has very few (usually 1 to three).

It has a good concentration of vitamin C, fiber, mineral salts and for this reason it is recommended to eat it fresh or squeezed; it is used extensively to produce juices, jams, honey and candied peel.

The first fruits begin to have in the months of February-March and, as in the case of the Biondo di Trebisacce, they last until June.

Locally called ‘u purtuallu longu”, according to studies, the first attestations of the San Giuseppe Orange date back to the end of the 19th century.

They were in fact the most sought after on the market due to their large fruits, with few seeds and strong bark; they resisted long browsing in everyone’s preference and always pay 1 or 12 pugs more than those of other sites.

Orange wedges

In fact, the stories of the locals show that the sale of the oranges of San Giuseppe was very profitable and supported the economy of this area.

They are also called ‘oranges of the tsar’ because they were even exported to Russia, beloved by the courts of the tsars and notables until the period of the October Revolution in the early decades of the 20th century.

The San Giuseppe Orange is usually seedless. For the first time in 2019 the ‘Feast of the Orange of San Giuseppe’ took place which was a great success.

The hope is that after the restrictions due to the health emergency from Covid-19, this holiday can be a fixed appointment to pay homage to this important and special Calabrian citrus fruit.

Orange slices

The San Giuseppe Orange has also been included by the Ministry of Agricultural, Food and Forestry Policies in the list of Agri-food Products of Calabria tradition (PAT).

Another excellence of Calabria to taste…

The Treasure of Pink Garlic

18.10.2021

Nicastro pink garlic is a historical product of the Lamezia Terme area, in the province of Catanzaro. Of medium size, it has a rounded shape, white in color with pink veins.

The excellence of “Nicastro pink” garlic is characterized by certain morphological and organoleptic characteristics, such as the size, the pink color inside, the intense aroma, the slightly bitter taste that lasts unchanged for several months.

The production of Nicastro pink garlic begins with the care of the seedbeds which, fertilized with organic fertilizer, will go into production in the autumn.

Warm colors

The cloves produced in the previous year are planted in the ground where they live until the month of May; afterwards the plants are uprooted and left to dwell for a month in an area of penumbra. This garlic also beats the Spanish one for naturalness, color, flavor, smell.

The “Rosa di Nicastro” garlic is a typical commercial reference to “Made in Italy” or rather to “Made in Calabria”. It is the affirmation of the Mediterranean diet, which is part of the UNESCO heritage of intangible assets. This is due to the fact that production of Nicastro pink garlic begins with the care of the seedbeds which, after being fertilized, go into production in autumn. The garlic is harvested the next June. Packaged in braids, it is left to dry. Although it exhibits an intense taste and aroma, which persists for up to a year after harvest, it remains delicate at the same time, a characteristic that makes it particularly popular in the area.

TERRITORY AND HISTORY

Nicastro is one of the municipal districts of Lamezia Terme, in the province of Catanzaro, of which it represents the most populous district. Until 1968 it was an autonomous municipality. Its history begins between the 9th and 10th centuries and, since then, numerous civil and, above all, religious buildings have arisen on its territory, many of which have been rebuilt following the disastrous earthquake of 1638.

A natural shape

The city of Nicastro has always been known for the fertility of its lands, especially for the production of exquisite vegetables from all over the province. Already in the Bourbon period, on the occasion of the St. Peter and Paul Fair, such richness was exhibited and the pink garlic was the protagonist among the banquets. So much so that in 1826 the King of the Two Sicilies, Ferdinando Secondo, promulgated a decree to allow the Fair to be extended from three to five days.

Despite the difficult periods that garlic production has encountered over the years, today it is still possible to go to the historic Fair of Apostles, held every year at the end of June, and buy it from the few farmers who still cultivate it, since more than hundred years.

White and pink shades

NAME AND FEATURES

Considered a rare product, the Nicastro pink garlic deserved the attention of the Slow Food Foundation which promotes it and contributes to its protection through the Ark of Taste project. It was assured protection due to the delicious Calabrian bulb, rounded and of medium size. Further, despite the intense taste and flavor, which lasts up to one year after harvest, it is also still pleasantly delicate; and it is precisely for this reason that it is particularly appreciated in the area.

IN THE KITCHEN (a recipe)

The intense taste and aroma of this garlic makes it suitable for flavoring many different recipes. Its delicacy, in fact, makes it discreet and never overwhelming, enhancing all the flavors present in the dish.

Good, tasty, delicious

Find herein a typical recipe: “Spaghetti with red garlic, oil and chilli“.

Ingredients:

  • 500 grams of spaghetti,
  • 5 cloves of garlic,
  • 2 red chillies,
  • extra virgin olive oil,
  • salt.

Preparation:

Boil water in a pot, in the meantime heat some oil in a pan with the chopped chilli pepper, add the clean and chopped garlic cloves and brown them, making sure they do not darken too much. Drain the pasta al dente, fry it in oil and serve it hot on the table.

Note well:

Garlic in cooking is a precious ingredient, but sometimes its use can cause unpleasant (and “odorous”) “side effects” on the hands. Cook it without touching the wedges with your hands, simply using a very handy garlic press.