Food for two seasons: culinary uses of non-cultivated local vegetables and mushrooms in a south Italian village
Pieroni, A, Nebel, S, Santoro, RF & Heinrich, M 2005, 'Food for two seasons: culinary uses of non-cultivated local vegetables and mushrooms in a south Italian village', International Journal of Food Sciences and Nutrition, vol. 56, no. 4, pp. 245-272.
Publisher's version of this article is available at http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/09637480500146564
The use of non-cultivated plants in a daily diet based on local cuisines is potentially of considerable interest to nutritional scientists, because of the plants' role as local products and their potential as sources of novel nutraceuticals. In many Mediterranean regions these traditions are at risk of disappearing, hence the urgent need to study such knowledge systems. Accordingly, an ethnobotanical survey was carried out among the 850 inhabitants of the village of Castelmezzano, in central Lucania, which is located in the inland southern Italy. Seventy-five taxa of non-cultivated and semi-cultivated local food plants and mushrooms were documented, and uncommon food uses of a few species were reported for the first time. These include Bellavalia romana, Lepista nebularis and Onopordum illyricum. Most of the recorded noncultivated food plants and mushrooms are cooked in oil or fat. Very few are consumed raw. This article discusses in detail the traditional culinary uses of these plants, their seasonality, ethnoecology, and their economic and nutritional potentials. The article also demonstrates how food agro-biodiversity is inextricably connected with cultural heritage.