Cosaruciaru in Sicilian means “sweet thing,” and in fact the sweetness of Scicli beans is one of their distinguishing features, as well as their characteristic color and thin skin.
The Cosaruciaru is a creamy white cannellini-type bean, with a reddish-brown spot around the hilum. The seeds of this ecotype have been passed down through the generations within Scicli families, many of whom made their living growing early produce in greenhouses, a characteristic of the rich local agricultural economy.
Until the 1950s this bean was grown in the damp, alluvial soil near the Modica-Scicli River, in what were known as cannavate. The growers, called ciumarari after ciume (the dialect word for river) sold the beans in the town’s shop.
The beans are harvested from the middle of October to the middle of November, but can be found dried year-round.