Appears in
Oxford Companion to Sugar and Sweets

By Darra Goldstein

Published 2015

  • About

mastic is the crystallized sap of the mastic tree (Pistachia lentiscus var. Chia), a kind of wild pistachio shrub or small tree. Lentiscus (or Schinus) shrubs grow wild all over the eastern Mediterranean shores, but only on the southern part of the island of Chios do the plants produce mastic. Pink peppercorns (Schinus molle) and sumac (Rhus coriaria) are two other flavorings from plants of the same family that grow in different parts of the world. The word “mastic” derives from the ancient Greek verb mastichao (to gnash the teeth); “masticate” has the same origin.