Red of Sicily: land of fire, sun and oranges

August 1, 2014

Of all the colors of the photometric spectrum, red is definitely the most suitable one to describe Sicily. Home to the world-famous Pachino tomatoes and red oranges, this Mediterranean island could not be associated with a different color than this one.

Tomatoes are red; they are fruits rich in lycopene and anthocyanins, a key factor in preventing cancer, thanks to their antioxidant and free radical scavengers, especially when cooked in tomato sauce. Both those elements help the drainage and the vascular and lymphatic circulation. The tomato sauce is a great protagonist of nearly all the main dishes of both the Sicilian cuisine and the Mediterranean diet, and it is a true marvel: cooked tomato, extra virgin olive oil and basil are practically an "elixir of life"!

Tomatoes, red peppers, chilies, red turnips and radishes, but most of all the red oranges typical of the Catania’s plain, are all characteristic Sicilian foods and they should never be missing on our tables. The substances that cause the red color of these foods stimulate the metabolism and reactivate all the features of the last intestinal tract, facilitating the elimination of waste and bringing a burst of energy to the adrenal glands. These foods are rich in iron, so they are perfect to eat when you feel tired and out of sorts.

Among the other typical Sicilian red foods there is the red shrimp, which is fished in the seas along the strait and will soon be recognized as a DOP product; then there is the Red Garlic of Nubia, which is a variety of garlic grown in the province of Trapani, characterized by the intense purple-red robes of its cloves.

Nature also adapts itself to the red color that characterizes Sicilian food: it is often called the Island of the sun, because it has the highest number of sunshine hours per day in Europe, with an annual average of 7.3 sunny hours per day. The darkest month scores an average of more than four sunny hours per day, while the sunniest month goes so far to 11 hours.

Last, but not least, stands the Etna, the highest active volcano of the whole Eurasian plate; with its lava and lapilli eruptions, it reminds us that red is also the color of fire and passion.

This article was written thanks to the expert advice of Dr. Maria Angela Villani.

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