Mastic Gum Tears - Raw Mastic
Mastic tears represent the original form of the raw material referred to as "Chios mastic". In this form, it is collected from the stem, branches and from the area below the mastic tree and, after storage, it is cleaned and sorted for direct use or further processing into crushed powder or oil.
The appearance of Chios mastic tears
Drops of fresh resin are soft and transparent. They gradually harden and darken in the air. After cleaning, the pieces of mastic have a predominantly amber color from brown through gold to an almost transparent color with a yellowish tinge.The shape of the largest pieces of mastic is flat. On the contrary, the smallest pieces of raw mastic gum have the shape of small smooth pearls.The size of the mastic tears after harvest is very diverse from a few millimeters to large pieces with a diameter of over 3 centimeters. For commercial purposes, raw mastic is packaged according to crystal sizes.
Currently 3 different sizes are used (previously it was 7):
- Mastic small tears, diameter 3 - 5 mm
- Mastic medium tears, diameter 6 - 8 mm
- Mastic large tears, larger than 8 mm
The structure and consistency of the raw mastic is similar to other resins. Some pieces are very soft and sticky and others are hard and brittle. Of course, it softens in the heat and you can significantly reduce its stickiness with the cold.
Chewing mastic tears
Chewing pieces of mastic tears is the original way to use this resin from mastic tree. If you really want to get to know the mastic, you should try chewing it! After all, chewing mastic is the real chewing and moreover mastic is the only truly natural chewing gum. In addition to the mastic itself being an organic product, all the processes associated with growing and harvesting mastic gum are exclusively organic.
Selection of raw mastic tears
The Association of Mastic Growers, the monopoly producer of Chios mastic, distributes raw mastic exclusively in its own retail packaging and does not allow its partners to sell raw mastic in other packaging or with a different brand. The reason for this procedure is, inter alia, the protected designation of origin, which is awarded to raw mastic gum and the designation 'Chios mastic'.
If you are buying raw mastic tears, always choose only packaging with a design of a Chios producer and the GI logo.
Another uses of Chios mastic gum
Raw mastic gum and powder from it is used in many other mastic gum products. Did you know that mastic gum (100% natural resin of the mastic tree) is processed into mastic gum powder, which is a dietary supplement for your digestive system?
The natural and intoxicating scent of mastic also leads to its use as an incense (in fumigation). In the Orthodox Rite, on special occasions and on holidays, grains of mastic are added to the censers as part of the incense mixture.
It's a bit of a waste, but if you try to use mastic in this way, you will be rewarded with a wonderful aroma even from a small piece.