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Bergamot Orange

Updated on April 12, 2011

Bergamot orange

Bergamot (Citrus × bergamia, Risso & poit.) Is an Italian citrus fruit of the Citrus genus. The name comes from turkish beg armudi = "but the Lord."It is a herbal plant.

Origins and History

 We do not know the exact origin of this citrus fruit, yellow indicates a derivation for genetic mutation from existing citrus species such as lemon, bitter orange or lime


Also its systematic position has generated much controversy among botanists, some classify it as a separate species (Risso and Poiteau) while others indicate that subspecies of bitter orange (Swingle). Some legends are derived from the bergamot Canary Islands, from which it was imported by Christopher Columbus, other sources argue for China, Greece, or from the city of Berga in Spain and tells the story of the Moor of Spain who sold a branch to Mr Valentine of Reggio Calabria for eighteen shields the grafted onto sour orange in their possession in the district of "Santa Caterina". It is also likely that the plant is native of Calabria, as early as the fourteenth century are evidence of a unique citrus in southern Calabria Limon calaber pusillus. The etymology is more likely Begarmundi, however, that the man in turkish, because of its similarity to the shape of the bergamot pear


The first intensive planting of trees of bergamot (bergamotteto) in 1750 was the work of the owner Nicola Parisi in Reggio Calabria in the bottom of Rada Rush, located opposite the area where today is located in the heart of the city, the Lido Comunale "Genoese Zerbi ". Originally, the essence was extracted from the rind to manual pressure and made from natural sponges to absorb (process called "sponge") placed in special containers (called Concolino).


In 1844, documents the first real industrialization of the process of extracting essential oil from the skin through a machine invention of Nicolas Barillà Reggio, Calabria, which operated machine called a high yield in a short time, but also an essence of quality compared to that extracted from a sponge.



 It is a tall tree between three and four meters, with a crown between three and four meters. The flowers are white, very fragrant. The leaves are shiny and plump as those of Orange and never fall, even in winter. The bloom and new leaves emerge just after the rainy season in early March. The fruit is slightly larger than an orange and a little less than a grapefruit, has a more intense yellow color of the grapefruit and lemon less, externally the skin smooth and thin as a grapefruit, the grapefruit is less round as it is crushed the poles.



The area cultivated with bergamot today is about 1,500 hectares, with an average production of 100,000 kg of wood. To obtain one kilo of essence requires 200 kg of fruit. The work force is estimated at approx. 4,000 units. The first bergamotteto of which we know was implanted near Reggio Calabria, Nicola Parisi, the fund called "Rush" in the year 1750. The cultivated plants are obtained by grafting of three branches of bergamot on a door-grafting of sour orange than a year. Remains in the pot for a year and is buried in two years. The graft and the transplant takes place preferably in the following year in February or September.


It has a production life of 25 years, begins its production for three years, comes at peak productivity at 8 years and can be up to a ton per plant if pruned (the tops are cut so that the fruit grows in low to protect from strong summer sun and strong wind). Productivity is strongly influenced by temperature and rainfall: a tree that can not stand the changes in low temperature and excessive or inadequate rainfall, as well stand the heat. You plant a tree every four meters, repair the ground with rows of pine trees and dense high height, in the side of the ground towards the sea to repair the cultivation by the strong wind that blows from the sea by the Strait of Messina throughout the year .


Its production area is mainly restricted to the area Ionian coast in the province of Reggio Calabria to the point of becoming a symbol of the entire area and the city. The area cultivated with bergamot consists of a flat coastal area sheltered from strong winds of the Strait of Messina by the surrounding hills, the area covering approximately 150 kilometers is located on the toe of Calabria and the Italian peninsula and extends just above the Straits of Messina, about two kilometers far from the sea.


In terms of climate the area is named in the weather maps as an area "tropical moist temperate" characterized by average wind / blowing strong for most of the year, hot summers without rain, early spring and late autumn and very wet winters with daily temperatures usually above ten degrees. I have an average of 300 sunny days a year. Bergamot has in the province of Reggio Calabria, one of his best habitat anywhere else in the world, there is a place where quest'agrume bear fruit with the same yield and quality of essence. It is also cultivated in Côte d'Ivoire, Argentina, Brazil, but the quality of the essence obtained is not comparable with that of Calabrian bergamot. It prefers clayey-calcareous and alluvial. It is cultivated in three varieties: Femminello, Castagnaro and Fantastico.



The products of bergamot are: fruits, essential oil, the juice and pulp. The whole fruit is sold at retail but only used for the transformation in essence, is only by peasants from November to March, you can get the juices as it does with other citrus fruits (eg. Orange) can cut into wedges to make a salad or, as the lemon, put it in tea (the peel is aromatic like lemon). Its juice is very bitter for the presence of naringin and seems to be active in lowering cholesterol. The content of citric acid is equal to 66 g / l, the highest amount in recent years has led to the use of juice as a source of natural citric acid.


Its use is particularly relevant for essential oils derived from the skin of fruits and flowers, leaves and young twigs. The essential oil of bergamot in Reggio Calabria is exported all over the world for its extremely cool to give a note to the compositions of perfumery. Water is an essential component of cologne and toilet water, through which the first products bergamot had widespread use throughout the world. A modern, the essence is extracted mechanically by machines always known as "peelers", these machines "abrade" the outside of the fruit under running water emulsion is fed into centrifuges to obtain the difference that separates the specific gravity (relative density d20 / 4 and about 0.88) the essence of the water.


Through the process of "defurocumarinizzazione" you can significantly reduce the bergaptene (5-MOP), a phototoxic Furocoumarines that sun exposure can also cause burns to the deeper skin layers. It is better to buy in a pharmacy or herbal essence defurocumarinizzata or contact the consortium of bergamot.


The following table shows the products and their uses:



·         yellow (ripe fruit used to extract the essential oil used as flavoring)


·         green (immature, used to make candies and to extract the essential oil used in perfumery) and arancello (fruit diameter of 2-4 cm immature fell the tree because sunburnt


·         green ash, used for some Whole spirits and to get an essence that is called Neroli Bergamot or Black).


The fruits are not pleasant to eat without first being processed. Unique use of nearly ripe or ripe fruit, if you want a flavor that is not annoying (if you taste the essence sees a bit 'heavy fuel oil) is in segments that replace the lemon slices in tea. Wild bergamot comes from the seeds, sometimes used as a graft instead of bitter. The Whole fruit can be candied, pulp and waste of skin, which are colloquially called "pulp" is used instead of or along with alfalfa, to improve the taste of milk. The entire skin is used instead of paper or some sweets to make crafts souvenirs (the famous snuff), or macerated in ethanol forms the basis of the liqueur called Bergamino or Bergamelli. The juice obtained from mature bergamot (yellow) is sometimes used in small quantities, the fruit juice industry for its bitterness.

Perfume and aftershave


defurocumarinizzata essence: the water component of Cologne, bergamot scent: Bergamot + alcohol (1-10%)


According to Gildemeister and Hoffmann, in their book "Essential oils" (Die etherischen OLE), bergamot was introduced between 1672 and 1708. Dedicated registers in the Eau de Cologne Johann Maria Farina perfume company Jülichs gegenüber dem-Platz (or "Giovanni Maria Farina in front of the square of Jülich), otherwise known as Farina gegenüber, there are testimonies from the purchase of bergamot since 1714.


From the moment the bergamot was appointed, namely in 1750 when it was planted by a certain Nicholas Parisi, bergamot oil has become an essential component for the perfume industry and in particular, gives the water of Cologne its typical fragrance.


The collection of bergamot has as its goal the almost exclusive production of the essence. The essential oil of bergamot is extracted from the peel of the little yellow-orange fruit. Originally, the fruits were pressed by hand (gradient), then with wooden presses, and now the process has been mechanized. To produce a liter of oil are needed 200 pounds of bergamot.



The Bergamino (15% of whole fruit and up to 40% alcohol), which was granted the status of traditional food product.


The bitter bergamot with aromatic flavor and high alcohol content.


The digestive elixir bergamot, also called Amarotto, low alcohol content.


The cream of bergamot, made from an infusion of bergamot peel and cream.


The brandy flavored with bergamot



The rind of bergamot, if properly treated, for example placed in brine and then combined with the juice can be used to flavor first and second courses, but also desserts like the famous cake Nosside. Other confectionary products are derived from the bergamot candies and candied peel


The aroma of bergamot oil is used to flavor Earl Grey tea in the variant called, or to obtain a fragrant and elegant sorbet.

Fruit juice

 The juice is used as bergamot bitter juices of other citrus fruits;


In elixir form of low alcohol content.


 essential oil: the smell of bergamot essential oil is persistent and pervasive and cancel the smell of perfumes, bergamot is used to put a whole in the refrigerator, scraping the skin with a fork periodically every two weeks to eliminate odors , just a few drops of essence in the tank of the radiator or in the bowl of liquid to wash floors for a few days to flavor environments;

Cleaning staff

 defurocumarinizzata essence it is a good cleaning with synthetic glues, grease and tar


defurocumarinizzata essence (not peeling on parts) mixed between 1% and 5% in Vaseline or alcohol as a mild local anesthetic to relieve rheumatic pain and bruising;


Antiseptic and antibacterial

 defurocumarinizzata essence: natural and pure as a soothing mixture of 10% with ethanol as a strong disinfectant.


 essential oil: used in Calabria in the years 60/70 to 2% in natural oil (almond, coconut) turns out to be an amplifier of tanning, this effect is due to bergaptene which stimulates the production of melanin, this practice is considered risky;

Counterfeiting of the essence of bergamot

The essential oil of bergamot is especially prone to counterfeiting as a hardwood produced in relatively small quantities. Generally counterfeiting is to "cut" the essence, or adding distilled essences of poor quality and low cost, such as bitter orange and bergamot mint, and / or mixtures of natural or synthetic terpenes. A global market each year about three thousand tons of declared essence of bergamot, while the genuine essence of bergamot produced annually amounts to no more than one hundred tons.


The analysis using gas chromatography columns with a chiral stationary phase for analyzing mixtures of enantiomers. The analysis of the enantiomeric distribution of various compounds, such as linalyl acetate and linalool, bergamot essence allows the characterization based on production process and find out the possible infringement of the essence


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    • Cogerson profile image


      7 years ago from Virginia

      I enjoy reading all the tidbits you put in the hub...I do not find it surprising that bergamot is a bitter juice and where would somebody find that juice I wonder.....voted up and useful

    • howcurecancer profile image


      7 years ago

      Great hub! I learnt a lot.

    • daffodil2010 profile imageAUTHOR


      7 years ago

      thanks for reading and commenting

    • breakfastpop profile image


      7 years ago

      Fascinating stuff. Clearly, I have a lot to learn.


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