Located in Southern Europe with a direct proximity to the Mediterranean Sea, the Albanian cuisine features a wide range of fresh fruits, growing naturally in the fertile Albanian soil and under the warm sun. In consideration of being an agricultural country, Albania is a significant fruit importer and exporter. Besides citrus fruits, cherries, strawberries, blueberries and raspberries are among the most cultivated fruits. A lot of Albanians keep various fruit trees in their yards across the fertile country’s territory. Fresh and dried fruits are eaten as snacks and desserts.
Fruits that are traditionally associated with Albanian cuisine include apple, grape, olive, orange, nectarine, blackberry, cherry, persimmon, pomegranate, figs, watermelon, avocado, lemon, peach, plum, strawberries, raspberry, mulberry and carnelian cherry.
Ingredients in Albanian Cuisine also include a wide variety of vegetables. Due to the different climate and soil conditions across Albania, cultivars of cabbages, turnips, beetroots, beans, potatoes, leeks and mushrooms can be found in a rich variety. Dried or pickled vegetables are also processed, especially in drier or colder regions such as in the remote Albanian Alps, where fresh vegetables were hard to get out of season. Particularly used vegetables include onion, garlic, tomato, cucumber, carrot, pepper, spinach, lettuce, grape leaves, bean, eggplant and zucchini.
Herbs are very popular. A wide variety is readily available at supermarkets or local produce stands across the country. The proximity to the Mediterranean Sea and the ideal climatic conditions allow the cultivation of about 250 aromatic and medical plants. Albania is among the leading producers and exporter of herbs in the world. Further, the country is a worldwide significant producer of oregano, thyme, sage, salvia, rosemary and yellow gentian. Most commonly used herbs and other seasonings in Albanian cooking include artichoke, basil, chili pepper, cinnamon, coriander, lavender, oregano, peppermint, rosemary, thyme, bay, vanilla, and saffron. Ingredients in Albanian Cuisine