Pachino tomatoes have been grown since the 1920s in the coastal area of Pachino and neighboring territories. Initialy, the tomato crops had to fight for space with the grape vines. Since the 1950s, the tomato crops have spread and expanded.
POMODORO DI PACHINO IGP
The main characteristic of Pachino tomatoes is that the plant produces fruit 15 to 20 days prior to the other varieties. This has to do with the climate and especially the temperature and isolation of the plants in this area. Today, the tomatoes are cultivated in covered tunnels (that are uncovered during the summer) to avoid drastic changes in temperature that have cause entire crops to be wiped out. The coverage also helps to temper the night and day temperatures.
This variety of tomato is known for its distinctive characteristics that are caused by the costal microclimate and salinity of the water used to irrigate the plants. There are three types of Pachino cultivars: round and smooth, costoluto, and ciliegino or cherry. The cherry tomato grows in bunches and is bright red. The other two are usually bright green, although the smooth can also be red. Pachino tomatoes have a sweet taste, good consistency and durability. Their skin is smooth and shiny.
The tomato plants grow vertically with one or two productive branches. They are irrigated with ground water from specific wells according to the production guidelines. The water has a salt content of 1,500 to 10,000 ms. The tomatoes are picked by hand when the fruit becomes ripe, about 3 to 4 days after the beginning of the plant’s productive cycle.
Pachino tomatoes should be eaten raw in salads, or used in pastas, pizzas or vegetable soups. In Sicily, tomatoes are dried in the sun or conserved in oil. The dried tomatoes make great bruschette and tartines. They can be used in pastas, with boiled meats or to flavor sauces.
In the library
G. ROVESTI, L'industria delle conserve di pomodoro, Casale Monferrato, Ottavi, 1922;
G. CORIA, Profumi di Sicilia. Il libro della cucina siciliana: aromi, ricette, ingredienti..., Palermo, V. Cavallotto, 1981;
M.C. SALEMI, Il pomodoro: storia e virtù gastronomiche della grande bacca rossa, risorsa economica e regina dei sapori,
Firenze, Nardini, ;
E. VALLI, Il pomodoro: storia, coltivazione, ricette, Bologna, Calderini Edagricole, 2001;
Atlante Qualivita 2009, Milano, Edizioni del Gusto, 2008.