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Chrih, or chriha in some parts, is a traditional method for preserving figs and is widespread in the Tunisian regions of Bene Khadech, Zarzis, Sfax, Djerba, and Tataouine. Several different varieties of fig are grown here, including the zidi, which is particularly resistant to the dry climate and varying types of soil; the bioudhi, characterized by its white flower; and the bither, which yields two harvests a year.

The harvesting techniques for figs have been handed down for generations: Inhabitants of the various regions pay particular attention to preserving the quality of the fruits during harvest and the sun drying process. After harvesting, women open the figs and set them in the sun. Once they are dried, the figs are soaked in olive oil and packed in tight layers in an opaque container, usually made from a plant called gdim. The figs are then regularly softened with more oil to facilitate conservation, which can last up to a year if done in bags and locally made baskets.

The leftover figs from the harvest, because they fell to the ground or are too ripe, are dried on a layer of alfa grass (Stipa tenacissima) or another local aromatic plant. These figs are made into gabbab or gharbouz (also on the Ark of Taste).

Figs are a fundamental food in the country because they are very nutritious and easy to digest and are used medicinally to combat constipation and improve digestion.

Nevertheless, chrih is disappearing because the traditional knowledge about how to dry and preserve them is disappearing and because of the introduction of foreign varieties that are not suitable for traditional preparations. The new varieties are more productive and are displacing local figs.

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Production area:Bene Khadech, Zarzis, Djerba and Tataouine regions, Kerkennah Islands

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Fruit, nuts and fruit preserves

Nominated by:Meriem Herbeg