Aromanian Wild Amaranth

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This region of Southeastern Albania, composed by 47 villages, all above 1000m from 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 and are not inhabited by local communities, however it is still home for a small community of Aromanians. They define themselves as Rrãmãnji, while Albanians name them using the term Çobenj. Aromanians have a rich culture, which can be visible in food. They use a wild annual plant (Amaranthus retroflexus) locally known as shtir. It was and is still gathered only by Aromanians, its usage 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 colour. Its green leaves are oblong-lanceolate pointed. 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 of 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