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(Pistacia lentiscus). In pharmacies and Nature shops it is called "arabic gum" (not to be confused with gum arabic) and "Yemen gum". In Greece it is known as the "tears of Chios," being traditionally produced on that Greek island, and, like other natural resins is produced in "tears" or droplets. Originally liquid, it is sun-dried into drops of hard brittle translucent resin. When chewed, the resin softens and becomes a bright white and opaque gum. The flavor is bitter at first, but after chewing releases a refreshing, slightly piney or cedar flavor.
The word mastic derives from the Greek verb μαστιχειν "to gnash the teeth", which is the source of the English word masticate. The word mastic is a synonym for gum in many languages.

Within the European Union, mastic production in Chios is granted Protected Designation of Origin. The island's mastic production is controlled by a co-operative of medieval villages, collectively known as the 'Mastichochoria' (Μαστιχοχώρια), which are also located in the southern part of Chios. There is even a small Museum of Mastic in the village of Pyrgi. Some attempts to produce mastic on the Çeşme peninsula, on the Turkish coast across the Aegean from Chios, were unsuccessful.
The harvest takes place from July until the beginning of October. First, the area around the tree is cleared and sprinkled with inert calcium carbonate. Then incisions in the bark are made: 5-10 on each tree, every 4–5 days. The resin flows from the incisions, falling on the ground where it solidifies. The pieces of dry mastic can then be collected for cleaning and eventual sale. In addition to mastic, mastic oil is also produced.
[edit]Imitations and substitutes
The rarity of mastic and the difficulty of its production make it expensive. As a result, imitations in the form of other resins appear in the market, sold as "mastic," such as Boswellia or Gum arabic. Other trees such as Pistacia palaestina can also produce a resin similar to mastic. Other substances are sometimes used in place of mastic, such as pine tree resin and almond tree resin.

One of the earliest uses of mastic was as chewing gum, hence the name; mastic-flavoured chewing gum is sold in Lebanon[9] and Greece. Mastic is used in ice cream, sauces and seasoning in Lebanon. In Egypt, mastic is used in the preparation of different vegetable preserves, as well as jams with a gummy consistency, and in meats and soups. In Morocco, mastic is used in the preparation of smoked foods.
In Turkey, mastic is widely used in desserts such as Turkish delight, dondurma, puddings like sütlaç, salep, and tavuk göğsü, mamelika, and soft drinks, also in the preparation of Turkish coffee on the Aegean Coast.
In the Maghreb countries, mastic is used mainly for cakes, sweets, pastries, and as a stabiliser in meringue and nougat.
In Greece, mastic is used to prepare mastic liqueurs like Mastichato, a spoon sweet known as "vaníllia", beverages, chewing gum, cakes, pastries, sweets, desserts, breads, and in cheese production. It is also a binding material or material preparation stabilizer for oriental sweets like Turkish delight or mastic gum ice cream, and is suitable for preparing a pudding. In desserts, as an ingredient of jam or cakes, mastic is used to replace cornstarch and gelatin. It can also be used to stabilize ice creams.
Mastic is used as a raw material in the production of some varnishes. Mastic varnish was used to protect and preserve photographic negatives.Mastic is also used to produce perfumes, in the cosmetics industry, and in the production of soaps, body oils, or body lotion. In Ancient Egypt mastic was used in embalming. Mastic in its hardened form can be used, like frankincense or Boswellia resin, to produce incense.


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