The PGI Lemon from Siracusa is a citrus of the botanical species Citrus Limon L. Burm, cultivar Femminello and its clones in the kinds: Primofiore, Bianchetto or Molino (Spring lemon) and Verdello (Summer lemon).
Jesuit ministers, experienced growers, started the intensive cultivation of the Lemon tree in the Syracuse area in the XVII century. The tree became one of the principal livelihoods of the area and in 1891 production raised to 11.600 tons of fruits. The successfull growing led to the establishment of related industries that processed the fruits to derive juice concentrate, calcium citrate and citric acid. The product was also marketed abroad, especially in the USA and UK. The lemon tree growing in Syracuse area is still the flagship of the local economy.
The plant spacing requires a density not superior to 400-500 plants par hectare, this value can raise to 850 units if the plant spacing is dynamic. The grows can be cared of in conventional, integrated or organic way. All the growing operations must guarantee the balance and right development of the tree, which need correct ventilation and sun exposure. The picking is manual and is operated directly on the tree, with the help of clippers to cut the stalk. It is executed three times an year: from October 1st to April 14th for the Primofiore variety, form April 15th to June 30th for the Bianchetto or Maiolino variety and form July 1st to September 30th for the Verdello variety.
The production area of the PGI Lemon of Siracusa includes the entire administrative territory of the municipalities of Augusta, Melilli, Syracuse, Noto, Avola, Rosolini, Floridia, Priolo Gargallo, Solarino and Sortino. All of them are in the administrative province of Syracuse, in Sicily.
Appearence and flavor
The PGI Lemon of Siracusa varieties present different features. The Primofiore fruit is medium-big sized, elliptical in shape, its peel and pulp colour goes from light green to citrine yellow, the juice colour is citrine yellow. The Bianchetto or Maiolino fruit is big-sized, elliptical or oviodal in shape, its peel is light green and pulp and juice colour is citrine yellow.
The PGI Lemon of Siracusa has to be kept in the fridge or in a cool and dry place. The ideal temperature for keeping it is from 6° to 12°. The juice features (quantity, vitamin c and citric acid content) with its peculiar essential oils (rich in aldehydes as Nerol and Geraniol) make the fruit highly suitable for the preparation of desserts, sorbets, ice creams. The peel can be used in many drinks as tea, tonic water or drinks. In cooking it is appriciated on main dishes, meat or fish based. It is also used for bakery and liquors.
The product is marketed as PGI Lemon of Siracusa in the Primofiore, Bianchetto or Maiolino and Verdello varieties. Due to the different ripening times it is available on the market year round, but the most relevant selling period goes from October to May. It can be marketed either in bulk or packaged in appropriate containers made from cardboard, wood, plastic or in nets and bags with a plastic band attached. Commercial categories are exclusively Extra and Prima.
The PGI Lemon of Siracusa is characterized by high juiciness, richness in oil glands on the peel and high quality of essential oils. It is an excellent thirst-quencher, aromatic and rich in vitamin c and mineral salts.