lunedì 31 gennaio 2011

The tolica del Salento Lecce Cicero (Lathyrus sativus L.)

The tolica del Salento Lecce Cicero (Lathyrus sativus L.)

Research by Bruno Antonio *


As in many regions of the Mediterranean, there are many varieties of plants grown over the centuries by farmers of Salento Lecce, and between that of Cicero Lathyrus sativus L. which would meet the needs of particular market or "niche", characterized by the demand for local products, local, made with environmentally friendly farming techniques and reduced environmental impact.


In greek lathiros in Latin cicerula, the grass pea, from the Middle East is a legume that comes from a herbaceous plant with annual cycle, similar to that of chick peas.

The seed is different for each type of plant, so that when we see a lot of grass peas seem to be the "breakthrough" of the river, like so many different stones.

The grass pea is not in the kitchen of Apicius, there are only our other legumes. The Modena Castelvetro James, who in the early seventeenth century was an exile in England and was consumed by the memory of the good taste of his land, about the cicerchia declared: "We still have our other legume cecerchia appealed, a few people but it is estimated, being coarse food, and creating ventosissimo blood fat, and way out of melancholy nourished. "

The significance of grass pea

Cicercula from Latin, diminutive form of Cicero, chickpea.

The significance of Lathyrus

Lathyrus is the romanization of an ancient greek word, lathyros, indicating either an unidentified plant, equipped with vegetables, is the intoxicating agent extracted from it. The term refers articulatus bottlenecks (joints) of the fruit.

The grass pea in the land of 1929

In 1929 the land registration of the grass pea was present as a main crop in the towns of Andria, Putignano and Spinazzola respectively for 53, 19 and 16 ha. In the countryside of Bitely, Barletta, Conversano Gravina in Puglia and Walnuts is indicated generally subsidiary to the olive tree.

Cultivated land in the grass pea poorer

The grass pea is an ancient grain legumes like chickpea plant, more rustic, almost always grown in marginal soils with low levels of cultural practices, resistant to drought and low temperatures. Seeds are wedge-shaped, angular, white, brown - greyish yellow or cream. The thousand seed weight ranges from 300 to 500 g. The vegetables are sold loose or packed in bags of different sizes. Before the dish needs a long soak.

Cicerchia traditional food

The grass pea is a product included in the sixth revision of the national list of traditional food products DMdel 10.07.2006.

The legume is nutritious and rich in protein (28-32%) and contains good amounts of essential amino acids. The consumption of grass pea Lathyrus sativus seeds has been associated for more than 2 thousand years before the neuropathy caused by nearotoxin ß-ODAP (SS-N-Oxalyl-L-α, ß-diaminopropionic acid) diaminopropionic acid) present in the seeds.

The latir or neurolatirismo

The latir neurolatirismo or poisoning is attributed to the abuse of legumes such grass pea (Lathyrus), which causes a neurotoxic syndrome characterized by seizures, and disorders of the lower limbs (paralysis) after long periods of employment.

Due to amino acid β-N-Oxalyl-L-α, β-diaminopropionico acid, is especially widespread in Asia.

Here's how the disease is presented by Third World Research Foundation:

"For centuries before the Christian era, the icy breath of death has breathed on barren lands where it grew only grass pea: Lathyrus sativus.

Cicerchia thrive under the worst environmental conditions where no botanical species survives. Plant resistant, has historically been cheap food of certain areas in the developing world. The tragic consequences of its use seems to be already known in the fourth century BC, but not to those who were forced to eat it to survive.

Cicerchia fills the hungry stomachs of protein rich and tasty, cooked as a vegetable, made with polenta and crushed or ground to obtain bread. In return, takes a terrible toll and attacks the central nervous system, producing irreversible spasticity. The first symptoms occur with walking difficulties, weakness and painful cramps in my legs. Finally comes the total paralysis and death. "

Pantanelli Henry tells us how to eat without getting sick of grass pea latir

In this proposed Pantanelli Henry writes, "But it (the grass pea ed) contains small amounts of a glucoside that if you consume too much grass pea, may cause disturbances, convulsions and paralysis in the limbs, known by the name of satyriasis. The problem does not occur if the grass pea is kept wet before cooking, because the tariasi encountered in dealing with countries where the use of special grass pea flour cakes baked in the oven. "

The program of the Institute of Plant Genetics CNR Bari

The Institute of Plant Genetics of C.N.R. Bari since 1998 initiated a program of conservation, characterization and evaluation of grass pea germplasm. Research carried out has allowed to establish a "core collection" represented by ecotypes interesting to grain production, biomass, seed size, protein content and ODAP content. Among these many are of Italian origin in the landraces collected mostly in south-central Italy. Out of 35 lines of grass pea, selected in 18 Italian ecotypes, studies were carried out phenological bioagronomiche, biochemical and molecular methods. The results were used to highlight significant differences from both the phenological and productive, which in the biochemical and molecular identification of genotypes resulting directly or indirectly to be used in breeding programs.

Follow these instructions for cultivating grass pea in your field

Sowing is usually done in February-March and is forced to file a 0.40 to 0.50 m, with 100-120 kg / ha of seed .. The grass pea, like other legumes, does not require nitrogen fertilizer because it has the symbiotic bacteria capable of fixing nitrogen or pesticide treatments, weeding is carried out

to control invasive species. In July, when the leaves turn yellow and darkens vegetables, plants are mowed. Plants mowed gather in heaps and leave for about a week in the sun to complete drying of the pods. The shelling is done manually or by machines.

Usually when storing seeds possess 10% water. Chickling are kept in an airtight container in a cool place.

The first grass pea can be damaged by hot winds (our foehn) and excessive heat, which is often attributed the stunted seeds. Harmful to the crop are then also the weevils, the aphid Siphonophora viciae Kalt. and Uromyces fabae

The seeds of fenugreek similar to the molars

The seeds typically in the form reminiscent of that of the molars, which is why, in some countries of Salento Lecce, the grass pea is the curious appeal "tòlica cangàle" or "tòlica vangàle" where "cangàle" and "vangàle" are just a mean molar tooth.

The grass pea to offend

Until the recent past, the rural culture they used to mock a person considered to be excessively fussy, or, unable to appreciate fine food, appealing as eating tolica, ie grass pea, with phrases like: a house that , tolica you eat, or: what, only he can understand ... tolica also an ironic proverb says: who has debts tolica plant, as if to say, it will continue to not combine any good.

Today, what is gained by cultivating a hectare of grass pea?

The production is around 2 to 2.5 t / ha of grain in good growing conditions and the selling price is 7 € per kilo then a gross marketable production from 14 thousand to 18 thousand euro. I think today the saying those who have debts tolica plant "is because with the proceeds of this crop as we have seen is totally mechanized you can pay the debts accumulated. The month of February has arrived, we plant the grass pea and in July we will have a nice gain money!



F. Murer, 2005. Traditional Recipes of popular tradition. Editions of Puglia.

Massimo Vaglio, the grass pea, antique and rustic vegetables. Everything, really everything ...

É.R. Grela1, T. And J. Studzinski Matras, antinutritional factors in seeds of Lathyrus sativus cultivated in Poland.

Henry Pantanelli, Cicero

Selling price of grass pea

Atlas of the typical food of Puglia


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