The green gold of Sicily, famous and appreciated all around the world, the king of ice cream flavors, his majesty the Pistachio
In Sicily, pistachio is real excellence, as it is the only region that produces it. In Sicilian dialect, the pistachio is called "frastuca", while "frastucara" is the name of the tree that produces it. With their sweet and salty flavor at the same time, the extraordinarily crispy texture, although oily, pistachios are undoubtedly among the most beloved nuts. In fact, the part of the pistachio that we eat is not the fruit, but the seed of the drupa that comes from the Pistacia vera plant, a little tree not very tall but with a thick green crown.
The pistachio, from the Greek pistàkion, is a plant born in the Mediterranean basin (Turkey, Persia). This fruit has a very ancient history. It is even mentioned in the book of Genesis and it is reported on the obelisk that the King of Assyrians raised in the sixth century BC. He was brought to Sicily by the Arabs when they ripped it off from the Byzantines, and since then his trees have found there a perfect habitat for growth.
Bronte, the Capital of Pistachio
Iran is the world’s largest producer of pistachios. In Italy, meanwhile, pistachio is produced in Bronte and in the territories of Agrigento and Caltanissetta. In 2009 the Bronte pistachio obtained the Protected Designation of Origin PDO. It is cultivated on the slopes of Etna, where the lavic soil, continuously fertilized by volcanic ash, makes its unique and unrivaled taste: in fact, Bronte's pistachio is sweet, delicate, and the skin is purple but the color is intense green. It is recommended to eat it fresh, without salting or roasting because shells are manually selected. There are many uses of this ingredient for both salty and sweet recipes. At Christmas time, it is well known and desired by everyone the panettone with pistachios frosting, pieces of them and pistachios cream for the stuffing.
Plantation and Production
The Bronte’s pistachios harvest is two years and is done in odd years, between the end of August and September. in the years of non-harvesting, the gems are removed to protect the plant. After harvesting, the fruit by mechanical rubbing is separated from the rooster, that chorus envelope wrapping it up and it dried for 3 to 4 days in the sun in the foreground of the farm. The result is the pistachio in shell, the Tignosella, which must be stored in dark and dried spaces. Then it is sold and then processed into a sweet cream, pesto, or processed for other uses.