Pig nuts – The Nostalgic taste of the earth

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Davie Donaldson
University of Aberdeen

Pig nuts – The Nostalgic taste of the earth

Throughout Scotland live a people called the Nawken, traditionally a nomadic people organised into very close-knit family groups. They’re known to have lived in Scotland since at least the 12th century, their own oral history describing them as an Indigenous people to the land.

Nawken have deep knowledge of Scotland’s landscapes and importantly the foods that can be found there. The small bracken like stem of Conopodium majus, known colloquially as a pig nut, can be hard to spot and if the stem is broken even harder to retrieve from the ground.

This plant is prized among Nawken for its brown tuber – providing a nostalgic hazelnut like taste, crucial food for families travelling the riverbanks, hedgerows and roadsides throughout spring and early summer.


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Thank you to the Nawken people and their elders, notably Mr Dave Donaldson, for sharing their knowledge around the plant species and its use