Food & Drinks

Lost and Rare Fruits: Preserving the Past

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Lost and Rare Fruits: Preserving the Past

“Chiappona” Pear

Origin and diffusion: Lombardy, Italy – local diffusion
Harvest period: October It’s a rather large, winter pear, not very appetising when eaten raw despite its unique, sinuous appearance. It’s more suitable for cooking. The skin is yellow with many tiny speckles, the stem is long and the pulp is semi-fine, not sweet when just picked. It should be ripened in the barn.

White or “Limona” Cherry
Origin and diffusion: unknown origin, diffused in Central Italy
Harvest period: early July
What a clever little cherry! The birds fly by, looking for all the cherries that have changed colour, but thinking that this strange yellow fruit is still unripe, they fly past. This cherry’s effective way of camouflaging itself means that we’re able to benefit from its sweet taste at its peak of ripeness. The skin of the White or Limona cherry is smooth and its yellow shade deepens as it ripens. The fruit is medium-sized, with a slightly irregular shape. Its appreciated for its sweetness and its odd colour that doesn’t resemble that of a cherry. It ripens at the beginning of July, which is late in the season, and this gives it a privileged position in the orchard. Tuscans call it the “Moscatella”, in Umbria it’s known as “Limona”, and it used to be diffused in other Italian regions, especially in the North.

“Sanguinella” Peach
Origin and diffusion: ancient, unknown origins.
Harvest period: September
vAlready in the 16th Century, it was described as “vermillion, similar to blood”: these little peaches are late to ripen and their shape is slightly pointy. Their skin is red, thick and covered with a dense grey fuzz. The pulp is red and deepens in colour closer to the pit. When ripe, it gives off a heady scent and becomes very juicy.

Citrus medica L. var. “Digitata”
Origin and diffusion: originating in China, it was once diffused throughout Italy
Harvest period: from October
This particular variety of citron, also called the “Hand of Buddha”, has two principal harvests – in spring and autumn. This particular yellow fruit has a thick skin, no pulp, with a delicate perfume. Its top part is subdivided into numerous pointy sections that resemble a hand with many fingers. It was one of the most precious and sought-after rarities that aristocrats in the Medici longed to have at their table.

Descriptions from the book Frutti ritrovati. 100 varietà antiche e rare da scoprire, by Isabella Della Ragione, Mondadori

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