Chios Mastic: The Island’s Precious Product

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It’s likely that if you’ve ever heard of Chios Island, you’ve also heard of its most famous export: mastic. Because it bears the appearance of droplets or “tears” and is customarily manufactured on the island, Chios mastic is referred to as the “tears of Chios” in Greece.

Mastic is a natural resin with unique qualities and a variety of uses. It comes from the mastic tree, scientifically called Pistacia lentiscus. The Greeks reportedly used to chew the dried resinous liquid that flowed from the mastic tree bark, according to Herodotus (5th century BC), who made the earliest references to mastic. The earliest natural chewing gum in ancient times was called the Mastic of Chios.

Although the precise makeup of Chios mastic is unknown, it has been demonstrated that mastic and mastic oil includes at least 70 compounds variety of therapeutic benefits. Mastichin, mastic acid, alpha-mastihorestin, beta-mastihoretin, essential oil, tanncertainecial terpenes including limonene, mycene, and caryophyllene, and polyphenols are all found in mastic.

chios mastic tears

Chios Mastic: The production

The process of making the malastslasts the entire year. Beginning in early July and beginning in early October, the harvest takes place. To release the resin, farmers cut 5 to 10 holes in the trunks of mastic trees every several days. The first resin crystals solidify and fall to the ground for 15-20 days. Farmers then gather the dry mastic drops. The farmers manually clean and separate the tears from most of the winter. The dry mastic droplets are cleaned, sifted, and waived for several months.

The mastic resin is grown in more than 24 Mastic villages in Chios and is organized by the chios gum mastic growers association. This plant has been the subject of numerous unsuccessful attempts to produce mastic in various parts of the world. Chios mastic does not grow in other parts of the world for unknown re. Howeverwever, it is most likely because of Chios’ particular environment.

It should be noted that while mastic trees can be found in other Mediterranean nations, mastic shrubs are solely found in Chios. Mastic is an exclusively Greek product and has been a Protected Designation of Origin product since 1997. (PDO). For those interested in the history of this particular tree, you can visit the Chios mastic museum and learn how it has affected the island’s economy and culture.

Additionally, Chios mastic is frequently utilized in cooking and food and beverage items. One of the most famous products is the Chios mastic oil. If you wish to add a touch of Chios to your home, try this extra dessert dish that calls for mastic:

BONUS RECIPE: Panna Cotta with Chios Mastic

Panna Cotta with Mastic - Chios mastic

This recipe comes from the excellent book “Getting to know the Greek superfoods” published by Diopter.

Preparation time: 30 minutes

Cooling time: 2 hours

For 4 people


200 grams of fresh milk

50 grams of brown sugar or equivalent stevia

4 sheets of gelatin

200 grams of dairy-free cream

1 fresh vanilla

5 grams of chios gum in granules

10 grams of brown sugar or stevia

The process

Place the milk, sugar, vanilla bean, and mastic in a small pot.

The 10 grams of sugar and the mastic grains should be thoroughly ground into a powder in a mortar. The mastic will rub and not stick with the aid of a spoon.

The jellies should be placed in a dish of cold water to soften. Pour them into the saucepan after thoroughly draining them. Wire thoroughly combine the confectionery with the cream. Once the mixture has cooled, place it in the refrigerator to continue cooling for several hours. Along with the pancake, serve strawberry jam.

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