Limone di Siracusa PGI is a citrus fruit belonging to the Citrus limon L. Burm species, deriving from the Femminello cultivar and its clones, in the following typologies: Primofiore, Bianchetto or Maiolino (or spring lemon), Verdello (or summer lemon).
The plant spacing must be a maximum density of 400-500 plants per hectare or 850 units in the case of variable density plantations. Traditional, integrated or biological methods can be used for cultivating the plantations. All operations must be carried out so as to ensure the right balance and development of the plant, which must always be exposed to the correct level of ventilation and sun. The fruits are harvested directly from the tree by hand, with the use of secateurs to cut the stem. Depending on type, the fruits are harvested in different periods: Primofiore from October 1st; Bianchetto from April 1st; Verdello from June 1st.
Appearance and Flavour
Limone di Siracusa PGI has different characteristics depending on the typology. Primofiore has an elliptic shape, the peel and flesh range from pale green to citrus yellow in colour and the juice is citrine yellow. Bianchetto, or Maiolino, is elliptic or ovoid in shape; the peel is pale yellow in colour, the flesh yellow and the juice citrine-yellow. Verdello has an elliptic-spherical shape; the peel is pale green in colour, whilst the juice and flesh are citrine yellow.
The production area of Limone di Siracusa PGI is within all or parts of the administrative territory of 10 municipalities situated within 10 km from the coast, and no higher than 210 m.a.s.l.: Siracusa, Avola, Melilli, Noto, Priolo Gargallo, Floridia, Solarino, Augusta, Sortino and Rosolini, in the Province of Syracuse, in the Sicily region.
The intensive cultivation of lemon trees in the Syracuse area dates back to the XVII century and was started by the Jesuits, who were expert farmers. The lemon became one of the primary food sources in the area, and in 1891 production reached about 11,600 tons. Due to the success of this cultivation, several companies that processed the fruit to make concentrated citrus juice, calcium citrate and citric acid were established in the area. The product was then exported, above all to the United States and Great Britain. Lemon cultivation in the Syracuse area has remained one of the most important assets of the local economy.
Limone di Siracusa PGI should be kept in the fridge or a cool, dry place. The ideal conservation temperature is from 6 to 12°C. The characteristics of the juice (such as the yield, Vitamin C and citric acid content), as well as its distinctive essential oils (rich in aldehydes such as neral and geraniol) make Limone di Siracusa PGI an essential ingredient in any recipe. It is ideal for making desserts, but its versatility means it is also perfect for highlighting the delicate flavour of fish, softening meat, flavouring vegetables, or aromatising sauces. It is perfect in the typical Sicilian Limone di Siracusa PGI and saffron arancetti.
Limone di Siracusa PGI is different from other lemons due to its extreme juiciness, the numerous oil glands in the peel and the high quality essential oils. It is also extremely thirst-quenching, aromatic and rich in vitamin C and minerals.