Aromanian Wild Amaranth

Ark of taste
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This region of Southeastern Albania, composed of 47 villages, all above 1000m above sea level, is known as Mokra. It is divided into two subregions, Upper Mokër (Mokra e Sipërme) and Lower Mokër (Mokra e Poshtme). Nowadays, many villages have been abandoned but the region is still home to a small community of Aromanians. They call themselves as Rrãmãnji, while Albanians call them Çobenj. Aromanians’ rich culture is visible in their food. They use a wild annual plant (Amaranthus retroflexus) locally known as shtir. It was and is still gathered only by Aromanians; its use is completely neglected by Albanians. It flowers from July to September and seeds ripen from August to October. The flowers resemble tufts, with no smell and of a reddish color. Its green leaves are oblong-lanceolate. The plant is rich in iron and is a good source of vitamins A and C. Aromanian people harvest the leaves of this wild plant to prepare the filling for byrek. They are cooked until they have gone soft and then they are placed into the pastry.

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Other info


Vegetables and vegetable preserves

Indigenous community:Aromanians
Nominated by:Andrea Pieroni