Opsigias

opsigias and cyclist at Maraathos village Crete the natural sun driers for the raisins
 

The ruins of sultanas golden era

 

A strange construction that you may see in the Cretan countryside are parallel rows of metal or concrete poles joined together by wires, the whole area they occupy is usually paved with cement.

All parallel rows of poles are connected at the top with metal pipes in the form of a incline roof. They are called opsigiades and were used from the Cretan farmers to dry the raisins, the famous Cretan sultanas. The name opsigias derives from the ancient Greek opsimi that means cooked.

In the past after the middle of August started the most difficult agricultural work in Crete, the grapes harvest. The farmers collected the grapes in baskets that were immersed in a large bucket full of water and potash. After the baskets drained the workers placed the grapes on the wires of opsigias to dry under the sun. In case of rain the opsygias was covered with plastic covers to protect the raisins from moisture.

Initially the grapes placed on the ground after all wild plant was razed and the flattened. Later paper rolls and subsequent plastic nets with small holes were used (different from those who collected the olives and had larger holes). After 1970, the vertical opsigias became very famous as they did not occupy much space, the grapes were ventilated better, it was easier to cover them with plastic covers in case of rain and the farmers did not lose the raisins in case of flooding.

Unfortunately after 1986 because of fyloxira and reduced demand for raisins most vine yards of Crete were replaced by olive. Today it is rare to see opsigias full of grapes and those who left, just remind us the great glories of the past.

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
link:

Raisins a super food for cyclists

 
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