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The consumption of acorns (from Quercus spp.) in the Central West of Iberian Peninsula in the twentieth century

Garcia-Gomez, Enrique, Perez-Badia, Rosa, Pererira, Juan, Puri, Rajindra K. (2017) The consumption of acorns (from Quercus spp.) in the Central West of Iberian Peninsula in the twentieth century. Economic Botany, 71 (3). pp. 256-268. ISSN 0013-0001. E-ISSN 1874-9364. (doi:10.1007/s12231-017-9391-1) (Access to this publication is currently restricted. You may be able to access a copy if URLs are provided)

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Abstract

There is evidence of the consumption of acorns from Quercus species in the Iberian Peninsula from prehistory through the twentieth century up until the 1960s. Acorns were used primarily for human consumption, mainly during food shortages. The high abundance and even distribution of Quercus tree species made it possible for acorn consumption to be widespread across the Iberian Peninsula. The favored species was the holm oak (Quercus ilex subsp. ballota), because a large part of its harvest consists of sweet acorns, while in other species the acorns are almost always bitter. People developed a substantial knowledge base underpinning a great variety of uses of acorns, from eating them directly from the tree to preparation with very simple treatments, such as drying, roasting or boiling. By manipulating levels of bitterness in a number of species, cooks were able to prepare dishes that ranged from salty to sweet. Based on interviews with knowledgeable people and a review of ethnobotanical papers, this article describes the forms of consumption, the processed products, and the other uses of acorns of the species of the genus Quercus in the Central West of the Iberian Peninsula. We also suggest why acorns lost their prominence in the late 1960s. At present the main use of the acorn is as food for Iberian black pigs to obtain quality sausages. In addition, new products such as acorn liquor, caramels, and other items have recently appeared, marketed as distinctive products on a small scale.

Item Type: Article
DOI/Identification number: 10.1007/s12231-017-9391-1
Uncontrolled keywords: Acorn consumption, ethnobotany, Quercus, Iberian Peninsula, traditional knowledge
Subjects: G Geography. Anthropology. Recreation > GF Human ecology. Anthropogeography
Q Science > QK Botany
Divisions: Faculties > Social Sciences > School of Anthropology and Conservation > Human Ecology
Faculties > Social Sciences > School of Anthropology and Conservation > Environmental Anthropology and Ethnobiology
Depositing User: Rajindra K Puri
Date Deposited: 24 Jul 2017 14:36 UTC
Last Modified: 29 May 2019 19:14 UTC
Resource URI: https://kar.kent.ac.uk/id/eprint/62382 (The current URI for this page, for reference purposes)
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