PANCs: unconventional food plants

PANCs, unconventional food plants, are those that can be consumed, but that are not commonly used in food.

Can this used to make a type of food, rarely including new foods. However, there are many plants that are around us that are ignored, despite their nutritional power and their distinctive flavor. These plants not usually used by the population are called PANCs.

→ How can we define PANCs?

PANCs is an acronym created by Valdely Ferreira Kinupp in 200 to refer to Non Conventional Food Plants . These plants are nothing more than those vegetables that could be consumed, however they are not part of the eating habits of the population of a certain region. This includes parts of plants that are not usually eaten, such as sweet potato leaves.

A PANC can be considered that way in one region, but it is widely consumed elsewhere. Therefore, when defining a PANC, one must understand the eating habits of the population of that place, as a plant may not usually be consumed in one area, but it can be used heavily in local cuisine in another region.

→ Are all PANCs plants that grow alone in the environment?

Many people consider PANCs to be plants that grow alone in the environment or are simply weeds. However, not all PANC can be defined this way, since these vegetables can also be cultivated plants. In addition, it is important to note that many plants considered to be undergrowth cannot be ingested, as they have toxic components . Therefore, it is essential to know a plant well before inserting it in the daily diet.

Are all PANCs consumed in the same way?

Not all PANCs are consumed in the same way . Some can be eaten raw or cooked, others, however, must be cooked. The requirement refers to the fact that many organisms may have toxic substances that need to be eliminated before ingestion.

→ Some PANCS that can be part of your daily life

Here are some species that can be used in food, although they are not included in the habits of the population:

  • Capeba ( Piper umbellatum ): It has a spicy flavor, and the cooked leaf can be used.
  • Capuchin ( Tropaeolum majus ): It also has a spicy flavor; its leaves, flowers and seeds can be consumed. It is a plant used in salads and sauces.
  • Mitsubá ( Cryptotaenia japonica ): This plant very similar to parsley can be used in juices.
  • Ora-pro-nobis ( Pereskia aculeata, Pereskia bleo and Pereskia grandifolia ): Rich in protein and fiber, it is a plant widely used in fillings, beans and polenta.
  • Palma ( Nopalea cochenillifera ): It is a type of edible cactus and can be consumed in stews and juices.

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