Acitrón Why is it the prohibited ingredient of the rosca de Reyes?

Unfortunately, the Official Mexican Standard declared that the biznaga, the cactus from which the acitrón comes, as part of flora in danger of extinction, since the population is less than 500 specimens and there is one plant for every five hectares, approximately.

Remember that families meet again with the pretext of splitting the Rosca de Reyes, the mimas that in addition to containing the iconic plastic dolls and delicious fruits, the most traditional preparations have a forbidden ingredient: acitrón.

The acitrón is a typical sweet that is commonly sold in some confectioneries, either in whole blocks or in small translucent squares in green, red or yellow, which are used to decorate the Rosca de Reyes, chiles en nogada and other dishes. traditional. However, its consumption has become an environmental problem.

Acitron in danger of extinction

The strips of acitrón are made with the pulp of a sweet bisque or biscuit tone Various types of ate

The strips of acitrón placed in the Roscas de Reyes are made with the pulp of a sweet or barrel biznaga, an endemic species of Mexico, scientifically called as Echinocactus platyacanthus.

According to the Mexican Journal of Agricultural Sciences, the main characteristics of this cactus is its slow growth and the few specimens that emerge after reproduction.

It is highlighted that the biznagas can be enormous, but require a couple of centuries to reach such dimensions. In fact, for a cactus to measure 40 centimeters, it needs between 15 and 40 years of development, according to the Ministry of the Environment and Natural Resources (SEMARNAT).

The extraction of these natural resources for the production of sweet acitrón has generated a reduction in the population, for which reason on November 26, 2010 the Official Mexican Standard NOM-059-SEMARNAT-2010 was approved, which identifies and protects the species flora and fauna of the Mexican Republic.

That is why the barrel biznaga has been in the category of danger of extinction, that is, with a total number equal to or less than 500 specimens and with populations of one cactus every five hectares, approximately throughout the national territory.

The ate could supply the acitrón

Various types of ate

Quince tea has become the hero of Christmas bagel makers, especially because of its diversity of flavors, fun consistency, low cost, and availability in stores.

The kilo of assorted quince paste, in yellow, red and green at Mercado Libre, has a cost of 199 pesos; while in the 550 grams of acitrón they come to be sold in more than 220 pesos.

For its part, the Federal Attorney for Environmental Protection (PROFEPA) is in charge of regulating the illegal extraction and sale of the biznaga Echinocactus platyacanthus and other cacti. In 2019, the institution even insured 165 plants and 45 specimens from arid zones in the north and center of the country.

It should be noted that in this situation, enjoy the Rosca de Reyes with optional ingredients of the acitrón, the prohibited ingredient and protect the biznagas.

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