Bronte Pistachios

Sicily is the only Italian region where it produces the pistachio (Pistacia vera). The Bronte Pistachio is grown in the municipalities of Bronte, Adrano and Biancavilla between 400 and 900 m s.l.m.
In the territory of Bronte, in over 2600 hectares of land, there is 80% of the production of Sicily and represents 0.25% of the amount produced in the world.

For characteristics of the volcanic soil, rich in minerals not already consumed by biological metabolism, means that the fruit (pistachio) has an organoleptic characteristic and unique taste.

Frastuca is the name in Sicilian dialect of Pistachio. And ‘it arrived in Sicily by the Arabs and the Arabic comes its name in dialect: “frastuca”. It was the Arabs, ripping Sicily to the Byzantines, to promote and to spread the culture of pistachio confirming the island and, of this, just consider the etymological affinity of the dialect name given pistachio with the corresponding Arabic word “frastuca”. The fruit and “frastucara” the plant in fact, derived from the Arabic words “fristach”, “frastuch” and “festuch” which are derived from the Persian word “fistich”. ( source)

The collection of the Bronte pistachio is biennial and is done in odd years, between late August and early September.
In the years of not collecting, even ones, “discharge” for the farmers, it proceeds to the so-called green pruning (the growing buds are removed by hand).

Green pruning is a tradition that is lost in the mists of time, probably dating back to the Arab domination. He handed down from father to son without interruption. Testimony of a culture, the peasant, according to which, thanks to the “rest”, the plant absorbs from the lava soil substances needed to produce a richer fruit aromas and full flavors unmistakable.
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 wide open spaces in front of the farm houses.
This gives the pistachio in shell, locally called Tignosella, stored by the producers, waiting to sell it, in dark and dry place.

Shelling (to remove the woody shell that encloses the pistachio seed endocarp reddish purple) is the next step.
Until a few decades ago the shelling was still done manually in the home producers: with infinite patience and a rudimentary technique which used a big black lava stone, empty inside ( “u sciffu”), on board of which the pistachios (one by one) were broken with rudimentary hammers (stones or others).

Peeling, ie, removing the endocarp (the thin reddish purple skin color) represents the most delicate phase of the first transformation process. The system used consists of a “Steam Chamber” where the seed is peeled, making it stand for a few minutes in hot water (about 90 ° C). Following this, the film that surrounds the seed swells and subsequently, passing through Wheeled cylinders that rotate to rubbing, it is torn and detached.
Another step is the selection of the product: peeled is conveyed in special fiber optic machines that recognize the difference between the bald and non-bald seed. From the machine to optical fiber, the seed is sent, by gravity, into a workbench to be subjected to a subsequent selection by specialized personnel.

The green pistachio then pass through a low-speed complex drying circuit and from this in the electronic sorting machine that discards any improper color berries.
The processing cycle is ended.

In cool and dry the product retains its color for several months, but after that the prolonged stay tends to fade. Precisely why the Cooperatives and exporters only custom peel them and do not take stock of “peeled pistachio” because the unshelled pistachio and peeled can not be stored in the refrigerator for well over a year without losing any of its peculiarities.
After two years of work and waiting, but the end result is the precious pistachio from the particular emerald green color with the characteristic organoleptic qualities.
The intense green color of the cotyledons, the elongated shape, its aromatic taste and its high content of monounsaturated fatty acids of the fruits are difficult to find in other areas of production.
They collect pistachio a clear preference than the product of American or Asian origin, mostly from round seeds and yellow, green and evenly less often yellowish due to different weather conditions, even if its price is always significantly lower than that of the brontese product. ( source)

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