Biodiversity that is eaten – Diario El Mundo

Huazontles, purslane, quelites and many more herbs that are edible in Mexico, are part of the biodiversity that we have… have you tried them?

Aylin R. Jimenez

The World of Orizaba

Every May 22, World Biodiversity Day is celebrated, the date indicated in the Calendar to make the world aware of the importance of protecting biological resources and the global biodiversity that makes up our nature, not only the different species of plants, animals or microorganisms that exist, but also the genetic diversities within each of them, as well as the enormous variety of ecosystems that make up our planet.

Biodiversity is the living fabric of our planet. It is the foundation of human well-being now and in the future, and its rapid decline threatens nature and people alike.

herbs and food

Mexican food is characterized by the use of a great diversity of ingredients that include native edible plants domesticated in Mesoamerica (Mexico, Guatemala and Honduras), by the ancient inhabitants of this territory.

Here we tell you what are some of the most popular edible plants in Mexico.

HUAUZONTLES

It is a small plant that looks like an elongated tree and whose flowers are ball-shaped. It has a high nutritional value, it contains vitamins A, B, B1, B2, B3, C, E, as well as minerals such as phosphorus, iron, and calcium (quantities similar to milk).

BENEFITS

· Stimulates memory, improves the digestive tract and colitis.

· It has great antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties that improve the function of the immune system.

HOW TO CONSUME THEM

You can cook huauzontles stuffed with cheese, on pizza, weathered, in broth, with eggs, with mole or in tacos.

PURSLANE

Purslane is one of the most common, it has various medicinal uses, but it can also be included as food. Contains vitamins A, C and E, also minerals such as potassium, calcium, magnesium, iron. Its properties are anti-inflammatory and it is used as an analgesic, antioxidant and circulation stimulant.

BENEFITS

· Contains Omega-3 acid, more than any vegetable.

· Provides vitamin A, B and C.

· Provides magnesium, calcium, potassium and iron.

· Helps against constipation and inflammation of the urinary tract.

HOW TO CONSUME THEM

It can be eaten raw in salads or steamed. Its juice is also extracted to add it to a smoothie.

ACUYO OR HOLY LEAF (TLANEPA)

It is a medicinal plant with large leaves, probably larger than the palm of your hand. It has analgesic, antiseptic, antiviral, antifungal and antibacterial properties. It contains proteins, fibers, vitamin C, calcium, iron and phosphorus.

BENEFITS

In medicine:

Helps reduce fever and inflammation of the kidneys

Soothes stomach aches

· Avoid indigestion, constipation, diarrhea, respiratory problems (mainly asthma and bronchitis).

· Contributes to combat nervousness and insomnia, thanks to the sedatives it contains.

HOW TO CONSUME IT

It is used in the artisan cuisine of southern Mexico to wrap tamales, meat or fish with its large leaves. You can also prepare mole or dressing, accompanied by chilies. With this leaf you can also prepare dishes such as pilte or mixiote, originating in the states of Tabasco and Veracruz where the meat is wrapped in these fragrant leaves.

In addition, it should be noted that its penetrating smell is used in the flavoring of tamales, stuffed chilies and green mole, traditional Mexican dishes.

PAPAL

Papalo is a plant known as “the Aztec butterfly”. It is rich in antioxidants and minerals such as calcium, potassium and phosphorus, and also contains vitamins A, B and C. It is good for digestion, helps circulation, strengthens the immune system and helps treat liver diseases, it is also rich in antioxidants and minerals such as calcium, potassium and phosphorus.

BENEFITS

Papalo properties are said to inhibit respiratory diseases, help reduce inflammation and pain caused by rheumatism. Other medicinal uses are mentioned below:

· Relieves toothaches.

· Improves vision problems.

· Controls cholesterol levels.

· Helps fight anemia.

· Works as anticancer.

HOW TO CONSUME IT

This plant is consumed throughout the country. It is recommended that it be eaten raw. It is commonly used to season dishes, whether they are soups, sauces, salads or also as a complement in Mexican appetizers. Almost any taco stand you go to will have papalo sprigs to go with your dish. It is also one of the main ingredients of the poblano cakes.

ROMERITOS

At least here in Mexico, it is one of the best-known plants for its preparation in the holidays. Rosemary contains vitamins A and C, calcium, fiber and iron. Benefits are attributed to strengthen bones, aid digestion, maintain healthy skin, strengthen the immune system and, as if all this were not enough, it is an antioxidant.

BENEFITS

· Like all quelites, romeritos are rich in fiber, minerals (such as iron and potassium), and vitamins (such as A and C).

· The vitamin C of the leaves promotes better absorption of the iron they contain.

· In addition, it contains bioactive substances called phytochemicals such as chlorophyll that protect our cells from oxidation and damage to our DNA.

· Due to its nutritional richness, it is recommended to consume green leaves frequently and romeritos are an excellent option.

HOW TO CONSUME THEM

Unlike other quelites, romeritos are not eaten raw. The most common way to eat them is in ‘revoltijo’, a characteristic dish of the Christmas season and Lent, which combines them with mole, nopal and shrimp.

ASH CHELITE

This herb is about a meter tall. Its leaves are very wide, its flowers are white and are in small spikes, and its seeds are black and abundant. When consumed, they provide a large amount of fiber, vitamins A, C and minerals that strengthen the circulatory and immune systems.

BENEFITS

· They contain more than 75% water, and the rest of the material corresponds to carbohydrates, fibers and small amounts of lipids that give a comparatively low energy density.

· There are quelites that contain 6g of protein per 100g of sample, higher than the content of many vegetables.

· They are an important source of riboflavin, thiamin, niacin, vitamins A and C, as well as being a source of calcium, potassium, magnesium, phosphorus, iron and zinc.

HOW TO CONSUME THEM

It is customary to eat the leaves of this plant in salads, steamed or as a condiment in some stews.

NOPALES

They are an icon among edible plants and flowers, not only in Mexican cuisine, but in our culture. The nopal is that plant that is represented in the Mexican national coat of arms, but that also plays an important role in our gastronomy.

BENEFITS

Helps eliminate high cholesterol

Controls excess gastric acids

· Protects the gastrointestinal mucosa and prevents ulcers.

· Contains vitamins, minerals, fiber and amino acids that help eliminate toxins caused by alcohol and cigarette smoke.

It is auxiliary for the control of diabetes and hyperglycemia

HOW TO CONSUME THEM

It is the perfect garnish if they are prepared as a salad with cilantro, onion and chili; they also serve to complement a good taquiza if they are grilled over charcoal; they can be the base of a good stew; they can be added to a vegetable soup and even taken in juice combined with orange and celery. It is an extremely nutritious plant, it is an important source of fiber and helps control cholesterol and blood glucose levels.

PUMPKIN FLOWER

There is no self-respecting quesadilla stand that does not include the typical “flower” quesadilla in its repertoire, obviously referring to the pumpkin flower. The pumpkin flower is a yellow flower, of considerable size, that is sold in bunches in any market.

BENEFITS

· Pumpkin flowers are a very important source of vitamins A, C, B1, B2, B3 and B9.

They are especially rich in calcium.

· They also provide various minerals: iron, calcium, phosphorus, potassium and magnesium.

· It is a food that hardly contains saturated fats, sodium and fiber.

· It is also very low in cholesterol.

· Almost 90% of its content is water.

HOW TO CONSUME IT

It can be integrated into many dishes without major complications, and can be part of salads, soups, sauces and dressings.

With seasoning and aroma

There is a wide variety of aromatic herbs that we can grow at home: basil, coriander, dill, chives, mint, parsley, sage, tarragon, thyme, rosemary and ginger are the most recommended. We can bring them to the table in various ways: fresh or dried they will enhance the flavor of meals and can transform any dish.

· BASIL

· PARSLEY

LAUREL

· PEPPERMINT

· CILANTRO

· EPAZOTE

· THYME

Their use is very popular in the kitchen as they give dishes aroma and personality, enhance, improve or modify their flavor and serve to decorate. Flavor is key to enjoying all the foods we prepare, with aromatic herbs being our allies in fulfilling such an important function.

Some leaves have very intense aromas and flavors that, when combined with other ingredients, awaken our olfactory receptors at the top of the nose and taste buds. It should be noted that the smells and aromas of any ingredient constitute around 60-70% of the flavor of a food.


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