Pistachio of BrontePISTACHIO'S HISTORY
The pistachio nut (from the Greek Pistàkion) is a plant with origin in the Mediterranean
(Persia, Turkey), cultivated from seeds, used for direct consumption, in pastry, confectionary industry and meat. It is no exaggeration to say that a plant is old as the world. It was known and cultivated, in fact, from the ancient Jewish, and even then considered a valuable fruit. Out of chronological curiosity the word "pistachio" found for the first time in the Old Testament, later found in the Genesis, (Original-birth of the world) chapter 42/43 verse 11. Well known about the episode of Jacob, who sent their children from the land of Canaan into Egypt to stock up on wheat, we find the phrase below:
"Behold, I have heard that there is grain in Egypt. Go there and buy for us... Bring a gift to the man selected products of the country: Balsamo, honey, resins, laudanum, almonds and pistachios."
Along with other plants so much appreciated then, the pistachio is reported in the Obelisk, commemorative monument, by raising Ashurbanipal I (king of Assyria, around 668-626 BC), in the city of Kolac. It was already known to the eastern populations: Babylonians, Assyrians, Jordan, Greece since from the third century BC. as a plant with healing principles, and as a powerful aphrodisiac antidote against the bites of poisonous animals, called by some "fostak" or "Fostok" and according to others resulting from the Persian "fistij. Plinio the Elder, author of Naturalis dell' Historia(Natural History), chapter. X-XIII, dated around 77 AD, died in the 79th after the famous eruption that destroyed the city of Pompeii, Herculaneum and Stabia, speaks of Lucius Vitellius (Roman governor or magistrate in Syria) which around 20-30 AD introduced the plant in Spain and in Italy, Following the Roman conquests.
During this time the crops are spread in Liguria, Puglia, Campania and Sicily. Regions in Italy, not finding the climate conditions favorable in the Italian regions the plant soon going to be fruitful "inselvatichì "was used for wood in the household. Yet the Romans called " frastuchera locus " space, place and location where they produced the pistachio. At this point as we leap and go ahead about eight centuries to around 900 AD, and the Arab presence in the island. These, the Arabs, had shipped and landed in Sicily and precisely in Marsala (literally port of Ali) in 827 and become masters of the whole island around 902, in those years they began "engaging and from the wild it became domestic cultivation."
Even today, in the dialect speech we conserve the terms "Frastuca and frastucara" that indicate respectively the fruit and plant. Terms corrupt derived from the Arabic "fristach" and "frastuch. Of course question of transliteration as the sound of "p" in the absence of language Arabic is meant by the "f" or "b". In the dialect of our grandparents Bronte term "frastucata" indicated Sweets with pistachio and "frastuchino" the color green of pistachio.
The Arabs were, therefore, ripping Sicily from the Byzantines, to increase and equip themselves in the cultivation of pistachio in the island, especially at the mountain side of Mt.Etna, found as the natural habitat for a thriving and unique cultivation.
In the sloping territory of Bronte a unique combination was created of the lava, volcanic ash that fertilized the soil and plant continuously and favored the production of a fruit in terms of taste and aroma, exceeding in quality with the remaining production of world.
In a impervious lava field (the "location", called the pistacchieti ( pistachio), the farmers of Bronte has reclaimed and transformed the lava flows of Etna in an unusual Eden, realizing the miracle of a plant born from the rock to produce small, tasty fruit of the finest quality, a good emerald green color, refined and used in confectionery and food for their high organoleptic properties.
Today, the vast territory of Bronte (25,000 acres) are planted with pistachio nearly 4,000 acres of the lava, with very limited surface soil and steep inclines and uneven, barely usable for other Byzantine culture crops.
A consumer protection, as well as marketing and in step with today's times and above all, to have a product free from toxic residues, hoping to continue on the path of the organic farming.
THE PLANTThe "Pistacia vera" plant is not hermaphrodite of Persian origin, the short trunk is not dissimilar in appearance to the fig tree.
The pistachio is a plant long-lived (from 200 to 300 years). It has developed very slowly and can produce only after almost ten years after its initial graft.
The Bronte has particular characteristics that distinguish it from other tree species of agricultural interest or by the pistachios grown in other areas of Sicily (Caltanissetta and Agrigento) and foreign as in the (Middle East, Greece and California and Argentina).
The plant resin; from the foliage grown with hanging clusters of fruit, does not exceed the height of 5 meters.
With deep roots, a short trunk and branches twisted, reddish-yellow bark that becomes gray when the plant is grown, and deciduous leathery leaves.
Pistachio produces fruits, pearl-colored leathery-skinned with seeds containing the pericardium characteristic red-violet and emerald green almond.
The fruit is in clusters similar to those of cherries, but with a much greater number of fruit, with a rubbery resin and hull-white reddish when ripe, surrounded by a very strong and resistant woody shell.
The "pistacchieti"(for Bronte, the "lochi") are grown mainly on nearly 3,000 acres of lava land, with very limited surface soil, mixed with rocky sites, of little value for cultivation, with steep inclines and uneven ground not easily accessible.
On this type of soil it grows spontaneously and is able to adapt a species tree, the turpentine tree (Pistacia terebinthus "), the largest rusticity and drought resistant plant.
In Bronte It's called "scornabecco" or even "spaccasassi" and it is worth remembering that the word originates from the Spanish "corni cabra" (goat horn).
With a very deep root system it's able to make way through the cracks of the lava rock, growing smoothly even on difficult to cultivate land.
The oak is used by farmers of Bronte since ancient times as a rootstock pistachio plant (Pistacia vera).
That provides the best production and drought resistant with whom you get plants that produce fewer empty fruits.
A tree transformation that must be considered the work of generations of Bronte, which was implemented with patience and with techniques passed down from father to son, forced to cultivate the lava to survive.
Lacking fertile land - most of which were owned by the Duchy and a few others - the peasant Bronte in almost two centuries of hard work, succeeded with this technique to transform many lava flows in pistachio growing areas, producing fruit of high quality, immediately appreciated in European markets.
The plant found the ideal climate, the predominant one of the Etna area, altitude of about 400-700 meters above sea level, spring temperatures average around 12 ° and reaching about 27° in July and August, with some rain thunderstorm which encourages the full development of the fruit.
Unfortunately, the soil type lava has always prevented the introduction of not allowing any kind of mechanization thus lowering the high costs of production.
Even today, the only machines used in some companies have the brush cutter, a cultivator and a few small power motor pump. What prevails for the rest is the hard working labor, the work of the hoe, rake, scythe, and water pump backpack sprayers.
THE FRUITThe pistachio green of a good title Bronte could hold the office of emblem the city: its longevity and strength, his strength of wanting to survive all odds, even to bear fruit despite being perched on the arid lava rocks, reflect the many characteristics of the people long Bronte.
A nation that can stand the work and effort, which has always struggled to bring in home is necessary.
Dominated and subjugated for centuries by historical Vassallaggi out of time and adversity incredible against whom he has always fought tenaciously.
A people who built wealth on the pistachio, and their culture traditions but also in the habit of respect and protection for the territory in which he lives.
The fruits of pistachio in clusters, consisting of oblong drupe, slightly compressed size of an olive, a color that, during the fruit set is red and maturity varies from green to reddish- pink and white to yellow-cream.
It has a thin husk that crumbles easily, and an elongated seed endocarp unique, aromatic, light green (the producers call it "red ruby out in emerald green ").
Extremely pleasant flavor of the fresh fruit.
The pistachio [green gold] has particular characteristics that distinguished it from pistachio grown in other areas of Sicily (Caltanissetta and Agrigento) and foreign (Middle East, Greece, California or Argentina).
The fruit of high quality, is highly regarded and sought after in the European markets and Japanese for the size and the intense green color.
A fine, rich fruitThe Bronte green Pistachio is not only a rich plant substances with high nutritional value, but also of numerous active ingredients used in the medical field.
The radical scavenging activity of its substance is used in many diseases such cardiovascular disease, atherosclerosis, some types of dementia including Alzheimer's disease and to improve the quality of life during aging and in the course of chronic diseases.
Rich in protein and fat, pistachio seeds, including nuts, guarantees the highest calorie intake:
683 calories per 100 grams, as compared to 649 of the nut 603 of the almond, peanut or 655 to 598 of hazelnut.
Contains on average more than 20% protein, 50-60% of oil (very high oleic acid content: 68% of oleic, linoleic of 17/19%, 12% palmitic acid), and sugars, particularly glucose, vitamins, especially the precursor of vitamin E, and minerals.
E 'is particularly rich in iron (100 gr. Shall contain 7.3 mg / kg as a means Beef!), calcium, phosphorus, potassium and zinc, essential for fertility male. Also good intake of magnesium, which contributeto the humor.
THE HARVESTThe harvest of the Bronte pistachio is biennial and is done in odd years, between late August and early September.
Each plant produces 5 to 15 kilograms of "Tignosella "with peaks of 20-30 kg. During the years of non harvesting, those same quantities and "discharge" for growers, they process the so-called pruning (the buds growing are removed by hand). The pruning is a tradition that goes back into the mists of time, probably dating from the Arab domination. Handed down from father to son seamlessly.
Testimony of a culture, of the labor that, thanks to the "rest", the plant absorbs substances from the lava soil necessary to produce a richer fruit, full aromas and unmistakable flavors . Every two years (odd) raise over 30 thousand tons of of pistachios representing only 1% of world production, but for Bronte, the economically element is more significant for the area under cultivation is concerned that the significant production value. Also due to steep and rugged environment in which the plant is grown, the danger of dispersal of the fruit among the "Sciarelli" of the "lochi" means the collection involves considerable use of expensive labor. The harvest is still done by manual form from the trees by dropping the fruit into a container carried on the shoulders or shaking the branches to collect fruits lying on blankets at the foot of the plants or, in some cases, even with the use of an umbrella upside down. A game of fast hands stained by the abundant resin and patients of the branches, a fatigue and a long-awaited feast, to which various tasks involved with the whole family, women, grandparents and children. After harvesting the fruit by mechanical rubbing is "sgrollato" (Separated from the husk, the leathery shell that covers it) and dried for 3-4 days in the sun in open space in front of the farm houses. This gives the pistachio in shell, locally called "Tignosella "keptb by producers, it at a dark and dry environment waiting to sell.
After two years of work and expense, the effort and hard work of the producer is completed. In some cases the price too low, and the costly labor or a poor harvest ; often unable to recover large amounts of physical energy and financial resources. In 2000, for example, adverse weather 60 percent of product was lost. Shelling (removal of woody shell that contains the seeds of pistachio endocarp reddish purple) is the next step. It 'made by machining from cooperatives or traders premises to which it is given or the product sold. Until a few decades ago, the shelling was still done manually in Housing producers: with infinite patience and a rudimentary technique used a large block of lava, vacuum the inside ("u sciffu"), on aboard which pistachios (one by one) were broken with rudimentary hammers (or other stones). Today, the two-year effort ends with the producers of "tignosella" (pistachio in their shells) for the operations of shelling and peeling the fruit is conveyed producers in assembly centers or sold to export companies.