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  • Writer's pictureТимофей Милорадович

The Island's Treasure

Today we are talking about an extremely important subject for humanity of our time - this is the right of people to consume genuine products that God gave people for health, happiness and success. Such pure natural products contain the necessary amount of potassium, sodium, phosphorus, calcium, other minerals and vitamins to support the strength of a person doing good on earth. Now this topic is more relevant than ever because the immunity of people is falling, the ecology is deteriorating, the risk of getting sick is increasing ...

And we are looking for something true that our grandparents once had, which allowed them not to get sick and to live long, effectively working. Today I am talking about the treasury bed of healing products, the fiery Sicily, where unique natural conditions have been found and remain to produce the best of what people need.

We all know how wonderful Sicilian wine is, made from grapes grown on volcanic soil rich in minerals. We all know the wonderful cheese of Sicily, made according to ancient recipes, having an amazing taste, rich in minerals and vitamins. There are many other treasures in Sicily. With the flourishing of agro-tourism and the opportunity to fly a low-cost company with direct flights, we are easily discovering these treasures more and more.

But today I want to talk about the true miracle of Sicily, which grows, feeding on mountain dew and minerals of volcanic soil, requiring almost no action from a human, but at the same time bringing indescribable benefits. You will now understand why I am saying this - because I am talking about everyone's favorite and irreplaceable Senior Pomodoro.

And you will appreciate my words when I tell you that the so-called Sun-dried tomatoes of Sicily, which once numbered several dozen, such as Paceco's Pizzutello and Buttiglieddru, small bright red tomatoes, traditionally grown in the open field without watering and fertilization, contain not only full-bodied taste with a high level of sweetness and excellent sourness.

But these tomatoes have orders of magnitude higher concentration of vitamins C and A, B1, B2, B6, E, H, K and PP in the absence of the wateriness inherent in greenhouse tomatoes. And if you are looking for expensive nutritional supplements to spice up your greenhouse tomato salads, then you better eat just Sicilian tomatoes, and everything will be in harmony in your body. You could get them even in dried form, in such a way they are easier to transport from Sicily to other countries, along with the wonderful dried herbs of Sicily.

Whether this is so or not, we are going to ask Nicolo’ Reina, our already renowned expert on Sicilian life, an officer of the Custonaci Tourist Office.

- Hello. Nicolo’. I see you always smiling, is it because you have these delicious healing Sicilian tomatoes every day?

- Hello Elena. Of course, I eat Sicilian tomatoes and olives, cheese and Sicilian olive oil, as well as many of the dishes that we cook with them. But you are right, I think, that the nature of Sicily, its plants, is a precious gift and cultural heritage of humanity. For example, il Pomodoro Seccagno Pizzutello di Paceco dried tomato that is grown in the territory of the municipalities of Paceco, Trapani, Valderice and Erice in the province of Trapani. Also, Catanese Costoluto and Siccagno Corleonese have been among the first Italian tomato varieties.

The Catanese Costoluto is described in a letter addressed to the Bishop of Catania Banadies in the early 1600s, who kept the spirit of the local food supplying community healthy. And like any property of mankind, the tomatoes of Sicily have passed through difficult trials in their development. This is very symbolic. In the 20th century, Sicily had a hard time, agriculture fell into decay.

- Yes, I understand that when men are fond of weapons and power, they do not think about families and healthy nutrition of children and beloved women ..

- Right, Elena. Well, many Sicilians immigrated to the United States in the 20th century, taking with them ancient recipes and seeds of Sicilian tomatoes. Catanese Costoluto was known as the tomato steak and one to make great sauces and salads. Historically, the classic tomato sauce Pasta alla Norma was made out of these tomatoes. This tomato was created on the slopes of Etna and had a special flavor, as you can imagine.

- Yes, I know that many families from Italy and Sicily, having moved to the United States, began to produce tomato sauces, calling them "Sicilian" and "Italian", they, in fact, made the popularity and fame of tomato sauces. This is a well-known fact in marketing.

- Thanks to tomatoes and tomato sauces, immigrant families could survive in the United States and develop their businesses. Meanwhile, the agriculture of Sicily fell into complete decay. Our precious varieties of sun-dried tomatoes, which you mentioned, have almost disappeared from life. Only in isolated family gardens in Sicily did people still grow our tomatoes.

Towards the end of the 20th century, when the population of cities increased greatly and tomato sauces became popular in the world, more and more tomatoes were needed. For a while, people stopped looking at quality and health benefits, they just produced as much as possible. And then in the United States, tomato sauces appeared quite cheap, they often contained impurities, but they were still called "Sicilian" and "Italian".

- Today, people all over the world have already learned to clearly distinguish which tomato sauces are fake, and there is a strong desire to eat tomatoes “like in childhood”.

- It's naturally. But the market wanted money. And other people from international companies decided to seize the moment, and for example, the Israeli company HaZera Genetics in 1989 introduced new varieties of tomatoes that are very fruitful and disease resistant, they were to sell and be delivered excellently.

But they were no match for authentic Sicilian tomatoes in composition and health benefits. As well as Datterini, tomatoes obtained from crosses with Asian varieties have become very popular in the Italian markets, but they are rather a prolific substitute for real tomatoes.

- Are you talking about greenhouse varieties of tomatoes, more watery in taste, but there are many of them, and they are cheap?

- Yes, greenhouse tomatoes differ significantly from genuine Sicilian tomatoes in terms of the composition of nutrients. This is understandable. Tomatoes grown for quantity and money can never be equal in quality to tomatoes grown for health and family happiness. Take Buttiglieddru, one of the oldest varieties of sun-dried tomatoes in Sicily.

This tomato, due to the conditions of its cultivation in the mountains without irrigation, has a significant concentration of potassium, and potassium directly affects metabolic processes, heart performance, blood pressure, nervous system, bones. It also has a high content of the mineral phosphorus required for proper cell division, DNA replication, the functioning of the nervous system, teeth and bones. Buttiglieddru is also rich in iron, zinc, selenium. Plus, it contains lycopene, a powerful antioxidant and vitamins A, B and C.

You know that centenarians live in the mountains, they eat these natural foods. None of those are found in greenhouse tomatoes, which are sent in large quantities to city supermarkets. And how unfair it is, but symbolic, Buttiglieddru almost disappeared in nature in the middle of the 20th century, when the war killed many people.

- Incredibly, we never knew or thought about what exactly tomatoes give us, we just ate them, and noticed that something in us was not working as well as it could ..

- Thank God, people in Sicily found the strength and restored agriculture, this really began to happen only in the last 20-30 years. And this happened with overcoming difficulties. It's not just about giving consumers who looked for healthy immunity the true natural quality of Sicily instead of the huge dominance of greenhouse watery fruits. But the difficulty was also due to the fact that growing in greenhouses upset the balance of natural conditions. In Sicily, insects appeared that pounced on tomatoes at any attempt to grow them in the open field, for example, the South American moth, which arrived with people who returned to Sicily.

The Sicilians have found a solution, they began to alternate the cultivation of tomatoes with pumpkin and also allowed other insects to live on the ground, these insects exterminated the pests of tomatoes. Today we have a victory of Sicilian authentic tomatoes.

And, probably, these are parallel processes - people appreciated the importance of health, the authenticity of products, the importance of the quality of fruits, they stopped abusing impurities in tomato sauces and chemical fertilizers. And now people are trying to move to live closer to nature. I believe that popularizing the true treasures of nature, and in particular the nature of Sicily, will allow people to restore justice and pay tribute to the treasures given by God.

Sicily gives reason to call it the Garden of Eden on earth, this is a wonderful land, the treasury of mankind, as you said. Let it be open to kind, worthy people who are able to give respect to the land, and not simply siphon all resources out of it mercilessly, disrupting natural balances.

- God, protect Sicily with the prayers of the saints of this land! Thank you, Nicolo’, for this wonderful informative story.

- Thank you, Elena. It is a pleasure for me.

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