Agretti: properties and benefits

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Louise Hay

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Agretti, description of the plant

- agretti they are a vegetable consisting of the shoots and young plants of Salsoa soda, an annual herb belonging to the Chenopodiaceae family. 


Also known by the name of friar's beard, the agretti are native to North Africa, spread spontaneously throughout the Mediterranean area and today grown for food purposes.


The plant of the agretti presents long, thin succulent leaves which can reach 70 centimeters in length and which form small bushes.


For food use, the agretti are harvested when the leaves have reached one length of about fifteen centimeters.


How agretti are consumed

The young agretti plants come eaten as a side dish, are in season from March to May and are easily available in any market or fruit and vegetable shop.


Cooking agretti is simple: just blanch them in boiling salted water for a few minutes or steam them. After cooking they are seasoned with oil, salt and lemon juice or, alternatively, you can sauté them in a pan with garlic and oil or use them in different recipes.


Agretti have a delicate flavor, a slight slightly bitter aftertaste and a particular consistency due to the fleshy leaves.


Agretti or friar's beard: properties and benefits

The leaves of the agretti o friar beard they are particularly rich in water and insoluble fibers, useful for promoting diuresis and intestinal transit and for increasing the sense of satiety.


Agretti also contain minerals, including sodium, potassium, calcium and magnesium, the latter present as it is bound to chlorophyll.


The agretti also present good amounts of vitamins, in particular vitamins of group B and beta carotene, precursor of vitamin A, a vitamin involved in the mechanism of vision. 


In the leaves of the friar's beard Vitamin C is also present, but since it is a little heat resistant vitamin, its content drops significantly during cooking.


The friar's beard provides few calories and therefore brings insignificant amounts of fat the consumption of this vegetable is indicated when following a slimming diet


Agretti are recommended in slimming diets also for the fiber content, which help to increase the sense of satiety and to perceive less hunger.


Curiosities on agretti

The agretti plant lives in soils rich in sodium chloride, that is, sbut by. Friar's beard leaves accumulate significant amounts of sodium within structures called vacuoles. 


Normally plants accumulate substances that are toxic inside the vacuoles. This particularity has meant that in the past the friar's beard leaves were burned to obtain sodium carbonate, a basic compound used in glass processing and to make soap.


Read also 3 recipes with agretti >>



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