An ethnobotanical field study focusing on traditional wild greens (WGs) was carried out in Central Crete, Greece. Through thirty-one semi-structured interviews, a total of fifty-five wild green plants and their culinary uses and linguistic labels were documented; they were mostly consumed boiled (vrasta) or fried (tsigariasta), as a filling for homemade pies. Comparison with some Greek historical data of the 19th and 20th centuries showed that WGs have remained resilient and are still present in the current Cretan diet. Cross-cultural comparison with the WGs gathered and consumed in other areas of the Central and Eastern Mediterranean demonstrated a remarkable diversity of Cretan WGs and important similarities with those consumed in Greek-speaking Cyprus, the Bodrum area of Turkey, coastal Syria, and Southern Italy. We discussed the cognitive categories linked to Chorta, as well as the possible origin of an original "bulk" of post-Neolithic food weeds that could have spread from the Fertile Crescent westwards across the Mediterranean basin over a few millennia. The current study represents a crucial effort to document and preserve the bio-cultural gastronomic heritage of Chorta and it is advisable that both biology and history scholars, as well as policy makers, pay needed attention to the WGs of the Cretan and Mediterranean diet.

Chorta (Wild Greens) in Central Crete: The Bio-Cultural Heritage of a Hidden and Resilient Ingredient of the Mediterranean Diet

Soukand R.
2022-01-01

Abstract

An ethnobotanical field study focusing on traditional wild greens (WGs) was carried out in Central Crete, Greece. Through thirty-one semi-structured interviews, a total of fifty-five wild green plants and their culinary uses and linguistic labels were documented; they were mostly consumed boiled (vrasta) or fried (tsigariasta), as a filling for homemade pies. Comparison with some Greek historical data of the 19th and 20th centuries showed that WGs have remained resilient and are still present in the current Cretan diet. Cross-cultural comparison with the WGs gathered and consumed in other areas of the Central and Eastern Mediterranean demonstrated a remarkable diversity of Cretan WGs and important similarities with those consumed in Greek-speaking Cyprus, the Bodrum area of Turkey, coastal Syria, and Southern Italy. We discussed the cognitive categories linked to Chorta, as well as the possible origin of an original "bulk" of post-Neolithic food weeds that could have spread from the Fertile Crescent westwards across the Mediterranean basin over a few millennia. The current study represents a crucial effort to document and preserve the bio-cultural gastronomic heritage of Chorta and it is advisable that both biology and history scholars, as well as policy makers, pay needed attention to the WGs of the Cretan and Mediterranean diet.
2022
11
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Utilizza questo identificativo per citare o creare un link a questo documento: https://hdl.handle.net/10278/5034464
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