The cultivation of pistachios was introduced by the Arabs, as the etymology of the Sicilian dialect word “fastuca” that would correspond to the Arabic word “fastuq” would seem to testify. It is precisely the Arabs we should thank for many recipes of sweets filled with almonds, dates and pistachios, sweets that are hinges of Sicilian pastry.

Since 1929, Bronte has been the pillar for pistachio in the national sector. The record was won thanks to the work of Sicilian farmers who for over 200 years have made dry and rugged soils the ideal context to create a vast area of pistachio enhancing the terebinth (Pistacia terebinthus) quality. However, it is the volcanic soil of Etna that makes pistachio the excellence known and appreciated throughout the world.


With this brief description, Don Tanu wants to give proper credit to the laborious work of the man who is behind every single package of pistachio fruit.

The harvesting of pistachios takes place through different phases of processing the raw material.

First Phase: The Harvesting

The harvesting is biennial and is performed in odd years in the months from the end of August to the beginning of September. The harvesting phase is an extremely delicate phase.

It is carried out completely by hand because the pistachio plant, growing on lava soil (in Sicilian “sciara”) does not allow the use of machinery and needs the help of specialized gathering teams that act directly on the pistachio shrubs and, gently pull them off, they drop the fruit into a container carried on the shoulder.

For Brontese families, this phase is as tiring as it is felt a very long-awaited celebration, a tradition that has been handed down from generation to generation in which the whole family participates in different tasks, from the oldest to the youngest.

Second Phase: The Removal of the Hull

After the first phase, through the mechanical action of the tape of a machine, the fruits are separated from their husk (the fleshy covering that covers it and that, when it becomes mature takes on an ivory white color that makes pistachio fruits similar to confetti). Pistachios in shell that is obtained is also known as tignosella.

Third phase: The Drying

Once the tignosella is obtained, we proceed with the third processing phase, the drying phase. Pistachios are placed in the so-called “stindituri”. Spread the nets on the floor of special greenhouses, the pistachio is laid in order to make it air homogeneously. On average, two to three days of hot Sicilian sun are needed to ensure that the fruit reaches the right degree of drying. This traditional method, slow and natural, gives the fruit that particular fragrance without equal.

Fourth phase: The Shelling

The pistachio, once dry, is ready to be shelled.

This processing, as the term itself anticipates, discovers the pistachio from the second woody shell that encloses it in a kind of casket. In fact, nature seems to be aware of the precious fruit it has created, having equipped the pistachio with a double protection.


Today this phase is carried out thanks to the use of machinery, in the past the “sciffu” was used, a block of concave lava stone on whose edge the peasants peeled the pistachio with the help of sharp tools.

Fifth phase: The Peeling

After shelling it is possible to proceed with the peeling of the pistachio. That is the elimination of the very thin violet endocarp which gently covers the fruit one last time.

The plant used consists of a “scald” where the seed is peeled, making it soak for a few minutes in hot water (about 90° C). Through the short soak the film that envelops the seed swells and then, passing through rubberised cylinders that rotate by rubbing, is torn up and the pistachio remains of its intense emerald green.

Sixth phase: Control and Selection

The Pistachio is passed in special optical fiber machines that carry out a first selection. But the work of the machine is not enough to select the pistachio optimally. In fact, the machine sends the pistachio into a workbench, by fall, to be subjected to the last careful selection of qualified personnel.


All the processing steps described above are carried out using absolutely natural methods and without the use of chemicals harmful to man and the environment.