The collection of Bronte's pistachio
If the cultivation of '' green gold 'of Bronte is very hard because there is a. A complicating we bring you the rough terrain and steep of skiing - land of lava - that make it difficult even the simplest operations and force farmers to Bronte heavy efforts for the collection of the pistachio. That is harvested every two years: 24 months during which the frastuche - the dialect of shrubs pistachio - grow drawing nourishment from the land enriched by the ashes of Etna. The products of volcanic eruptions, rich in minerals, in eastern Sicily act like a fertilizer makes the soil an inexhaustible source of nourishment. And that's what gives the pistachio properties - in terms of taste, color and content - making it unique in the world.
Pistachio plants begin to yield between five and seven years of age. They are shrubs that, on rare occasions, they become small trees that were no longer than six meters high. Recognize due to a dark trunk, which yields to gray, and leaves not particularly bright. A complete description, so that has to earn: the pistachio born in dense clusters that are picked up by hand. Each plant produces a quantity which varies from 5 to 15 pounds of tignosella, dried and stripped of the fruit husk, that is, of the outer part which surrounds the pistachio. Between late August and early September, at Bronte they will produce up to 30 thousand tons of pistachios, corresponding to 1 per cent of world production.
For best results, however, trees can not bear fruit every year. A little 'for the high cost of production, a bit' to avoid weakening the plants, the pistachio is produced every other year. In the odd, it takes what is called the "green pruning": the gems of pistachio are removed by hand. Cut one by one, to prevent the fruit from the seed born then. It was essential in order to ensure the following year, a collection of more consistent and better quality fruits. That result in improved earnings.
Because of the rough terrain which we have already said, the collection of the pistachio is done manually. The lava soil, hard and uneven, discourages any automation and forces collectors to use old methods. When not taken cluster after cluster, the fruits are dropped shaking the trees at the trunks. All around they are positioned tents, umbrellas upside down or containers - which are usually transported to shoulder. In this way, the pistachio that falls is faster and easier to collect. Is this part of the process which, technically, is called "shaking down".
The pistachios just collected and transported in large sacks are enveloped by the husk, a layer of pulp - similar to a peel - that contains the fruit. The husk is removed through a mechanical process, the "hulling", after which you get tignosella. That is the pistachio shell. In order for the green fruit retains its bright color and no risk of being contaminated, the hulling must take place within 24 hours after the harvest. This procedure is completed, the tignosella will be left to dry in the sun for a few days.
During the weeks in which they reap the rewards, farms and country houses are covered with expanses of pistachio left under the hot summer sun of Sicily. The pistachio must be kept at a constant temperature of between 40 and 50 degrees centigrade. It is ready when it is dry, that is, when the humidity level inside it is arriving at 4/6 percent. At this point, taking care to transfer the fruit dry in clean containers, the pistachio is ready to be stored in warehouses. That is a cool, ventilated, with temperatures never exceed 20 degrees. Or packaged under vacuum, to avoid any contact with foreign particles.
To obtain the quality mark DOP - which certifies that you are faced with a real production of Bronte pistachio green - it is necessary that in all procedures described above are not used chemical additives. Anything that is not natural can come into contact with the '' green gold ', in order to preserve the original flavor and avoid misinformation.
Much of the pistachio is marketed unshelled. Long gone are the days when the shelling was made by hand, pounding on every single pistachio with small hammers or stones. Today, thanks to a mechanical procedure this operation is much simpler, requires less time, less work and especially less patience. Immediately after being shelled pistachios are also peeled, removing the thin skins of purple color that surrounds them. Stripped of the husk, the woody shell of skin and the fruit is in its characteristic emerald green. And also the intensity of color - with the amount of chlorophyll contained within the fruit - is one of the elements that are taken into account in the assignment of quality certifications.