Manduria Carosello

Ark of taste
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The carosello melon is a fruit that is consumed when it is not yet ripe, as an alternative to cucumber. Thanks to the ease of cross-breeding with various local varieties of melons, and the patient selections made by Apulian farmers, over time the carosello acquired a variety of shapes, sizes, levels of hairs on the skin as well as many different colours.

Amongst these there is the Manduria carosello, also called cummarazzu in dialect, it is spherical in shape, light green in colour, covered with woolly hairs and weighs between 150 grams and 300 grams. Some specimens may have green coloured streaks. The point where the corolla and the floral parts attach is clearly visible. This carosello is particularly characterised by its thin peel and white pulp.

The cultivation of the Manduria carosello is carried out in deep and clayey soils (called terre ti patuli in the local dialect) in which the cultivation is done completely dry. It is grown in very small plots by sowing directly in the soil and is done with seeds from the previous year which have been preserved by the farmers. Sowing takes place in March and the gradual harvests begin at the end of May with the first unripened fruits and continues until the end of July. If they are harvested when they are too ripe, the pulp will have a spongy consistency and the product will lose a vast amount of its quality.

The Manduria carosello is eaten fresh, when it is not fully ripe, and, in terms of texture, it has a high water content but is crunchy and crisp. It is also scented. For years it has represented a summer snack for the peasants of Manduria and its surroundings, and was consumed during the harvest of the Primitivo di Manduria.

It is obviously consumed a lot in summer: as a fresh product at the end of a meal or as an accompaniment to bean purée or sauces made with a fresh Manduria tomato base.

Its current production is concentrated in Manduria and in some neighbouring municipalities such as Avetrana, Sava and Torricella; but it is also grown in Oria and Torre Santa Susanna in the Brindisi area. The cultivation is almost exclusively done for personal consumption and few farmers still keep the seeds. In fact, many farmers decided to replace this crop with others that are easier to grow.

The research activities necessary for the reporting of this product in the Ark of Taste online catalogue were financed by the Ministry of Labour and Social Policies, the General Directorate of the Tertiary Sector and Corporate Social Responsibility – notice n° 1/2018 “Slow Food in action: communities protagonists of change”, pursuant to Article 72 of the Tertiary Sector Code, referred to in Legislative Decree No. 117/2017.

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Production area:Manduria Municipality and sourrondings

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Vegetables and vegetable preserves

Nominated by:Slow Food Manduria - Terre del Primitivo