Limone di Sorrento PGI is a fresh lemon belonging to the Citrus limon L. species, deriving from the local ecotype Ovale di Sorrento, also known as Limone di Massa Lubrense or Massese.
Terracing is the usual cultivation method used for this product, with the plants enclosed within walled areas. They are grown with the “free vase” system, which is suitable for trees cultivated under cover; the trees are covered with a so-called pergolato sorrentino, which is a frame made from wooden canes, preferably chestnut, that is covered with reeds known as pagliarelle. This species can bear fruit up to five times a year and for this reason it is possible to harvest over a long period of time; generally between January 1st and October 31st. The fruit must be harvested by hand so as to avoid contact with the ground.
Appearance and Flavour
Limone di Sorrento PGI is characterised by its average- large size and elliptic shape, and must weigh no less than 85 g. Its rind is rich in essential oils, rendering it particularly fragrant, and it can be distinguished by its medium thickness and lemon-yellow colour. Its flesh is characterised by a light straw-yellow colour and is very succulent, with abundant juice, high acidity and well-balanced sugar content.
The production area of Limone di Sorrento PGI is within parts of the territory of the municipalities of Vico Equense, Meta, Piano di Sorrento, Sant’Agnello, Massa Lubrense, Capri and Anacapri, in the Province of Naples, in the Campania region.
Limone di Sorrento PGI is fruit of a longstanding tradition. The presence of lemons on the Sorrento peninsula dates back to the Renaissance period, as demonstrated by various records, acts of sale, paintings and treatises of that time. The first specialised cultivations were planted thanks to the Jesuit Fathers in the XVIII century. One of the very first cultivated crops, the “Gesù”, still exists today in the Guarazzanno Basin, between Sorrento and Massa Lubrense. This supports the theory that the two names by which the variety is known, Ovale di Sorrento and Massese, originate from these two towns on the Sorrento Coast. This lemon has been cited in works by Torquato Tasso, a native of Sorrento, Giovanni Pontano and Gianbattista della Porta, and in the XVII century, the historian Bonaventura Da Sorrento confirms that they were shipped across the world, especially to America.
Limone di Sorrento PGI should be kept in the fridge or in a cool, dry place. It is a very versatile product and can be used in a variety of ways. It can be eaten fresh or used as an ingredient in a many dishes, from starters to desserts, as well as for making preserves, marmalades and jams. Among the typical specialties that have Limone di Sorrento PGI as a primary ingredient, there is the famous Limoncello, which is obtained by infusing the lemon peel in an alcoholic solution.
The product is marketed as Limone di Sorrento PGI. It is sold individually with a weight of at least 85 g per lemon, or in rigid containers which hold between 0.5 kg and 15 kg, made of vegetal materials, cardboard or other recyclable materials. It is also available as a processed product, such as Marmellata di Limone di Sorrento PGI (marmalade) and Liquore di Limone di Sorrento PGI (liqueur).
Limone di Sorrento PGI is cultivated in the hills which roll down to the sea and is grown under traditional frames, which protect the plants from adverse weather conditions, as well as delaying the ripening of the fruit; this ensures that the lemons can be harvested gradually throughout the year.