THE HISTORY OF THE PISTACHIO
The famous pistachio
Pistachio is a plant native to the Mediterranean basin (Persia, Turkey), cultivated for its seeds, used for direct consumption, in pastries and to flavor meat sausages.
It is no exaggeration to say that it is a plant as old as the world .
It was known and cultivated, in fact, by the ancient Jews and already then considered a precious fruit . Out of chronological curiosity we find the word " pistachio
" for the first timein the Old Testament, subsequently in Genesis, (origin-birth of the world) chapters 42/43 verse 11.Jacob, who sends his sons from the land of Canan to Egypt to stock up on wheat, we find the following sentence: "Behold, I have heard that there is wheat in Egypt. Go there and buy for us... Bring as a gift to that man the chosen products of the country: Balsam, honey, resins, laudanum, almonds and pistachios ." Together with other plants much appreciated at the time, the pistachio is shown in the obelisk, a celebratory monument, erected by Ashurbanipal I (king of Assyria, around 668-626 BC), in the city of Kolach. But it was already known to the eastern populations : Babylonians, Assyrians, Jordanians, Greeks since the 3rd century BC. C. as a plant with healing principles , a powerful aphrodisiac and as an antidote against the bites of poisonous animals, called according to some "fostak" or "fostok" and according to others deriving from the Persian Pliny the Elder, author of the Historia Naturalis, cap. X-XIII, dated around 77 AD, who died in the 79th sequel to the famous eruption that destroyed the city of Pompeii, Herculaneum and Stabia, speaks to us of Lucio Vitellio (Praetor or Roman governor in Syria) who around 20-30 after Christ introduced the plant to Spain and Italy, following the Roman conquests. In that period the cultivations spread to Liguria , Puglia , Campania and Sicily . In the Italian regions, as the plant did not findfavorable climatic conditions, it soon went wild, changing from fruit-bearing to wood used for domestic uses. The Romans still called the space, place or place where pistachios were produced "frastuchera locus" .
At this point it will be necessary to make a leap of about eight centuries and arrive, around 900 AD, at the Arab presence on the island. These, the Arabs, had landed in Sicily and more precisely in Marsala (literally port of Ali) in 827 and became masters of the entire island around 902, in those years they began its cultivation "instigating them who saved the cultivation they became domestichi", due to scions.
Of the latter, even today, in dialect we retain the terms " frastuca and frastucara " which indicate the fruit and the plant respectively . Corrupted terms derived from the Arabic "fristach" and "frastuch". Naturally this is a transliteration since the "p" sound is missing in Arabic and is rendered with "f" or "b".
In our grandparents' dialect the term " frastucara " indicated a pistachio-based dessert and "frastuchino" the green color pistachio .
It was the Arabs, therefore, who wrested Sicily from the Byzantines, who increased and equipped themselves in the cultivation of pistachio which on the island , particularly on the slopes of Etna , found the natural habitat for a luxuriant and peculiar development.
Today the pistachio has become a very precious fruit, a true jewel , called " GREEN GOLD" .
The price of Green Gold is also unique, its value is often double that of foreign competitors.
The quality of Sicilian pistachio is an Italian excellence envied throughout the world.
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