Ricotta processing

Ricotta is a dairy product widespread all over Sicily, where it is used to prepare many dishes. However, in Nebrodi Mountains it enjoys a sort of a blaze of biodiversity. As a matter of fact, in this area it is still produced as it was at the times of Homer, that is adding fig milk. Cheese-makers have their reference trees from which they take off the small branches they directly soak into the whey or dilute in boiling water and then pour into the boiler. The technique is rather complicated, since the efficiency of the latex depends on the climate, season, and vegetative strength of the tree: therefore, cheese-makers will have to decide day after day the quantity of latex and the reaction time. However, this method gives the opportunity to obtain pure and very personal ricotta cheese (varying according to the cheese-maker), with a lemon aftertaste. And a very pleasant herbaceous aroma. But the result does not only depend on the fig latex: ricotta can be made with cow's, sheep's, or mixed milk. Moreover, it can be without salt - to use fresh to prepare dishes or pastries - or with salt, to mature and grate on the pasta. Another product of Nebrodi is the so-called "baked ricotta" (ricotta infornata): it is cooked with a particular method, can be sweet or salted, and needs a long maturation period.

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