Much has been written about the benefits of dried fruit. Often this product is a convenient alternative to fresh fruit, especially for travelers who want to try a particular fruit outside the season of its ripening or bring the fruit they like upon returning from a trip.
In Azerbaijan, you will find a large assortment of dried fruits, both widespread throughout the world and quite exotic for other countries, but completely normal for our latitudes. We want to tell you about them.
Jujube, unabi, Chinese date – this fruit has many names. However, in Azerbaijan you will not find understanding if you use the above names. However, ask anyone about the innab, and they will point you to the dried fruit stalls where this fruit is available all year round.
About 400 varieties of this plant are known in the world. Accordingly, its fruits may differ in size and shape. In Azerbaijan, large, elongated fruits with grape size are most appreciated. Peel they have a glossy, dark-red color. The fresh fruit of innab is springy, with crispy flesh. However, only dried fruit can be found on the market. At the same time, they are fleshy, with soft spongy sweet pulp. The peel of the fruit exudes a delicate pleasant smell. Inside the fruit is medium in size hard bone.
In Azerbaijan, innab is used simply as a treat, with tea, mixed with nuts, wild persimmon and other dried fruits. Along with nutritional properties, innab fruits are beneficial for health due to the content of vitamin C (20 times more than in lemon), vitamin P, minerals and trace elements (calcium, potassium, magnesium, phosphorus, iron), as well as pectin, capable of remove toxins from the body. It is believed that the use of innab contributes to the normalization of blood pressure, lower cholesterol levels, treatment of respiratory diseases, etc.
The cost of dried innab in Azerbaijan varies, depending on the size of the fruit, in the range of about 2.5–8 manat per kilogram (1.5–4.5 dollars).
Another unusual from the point of view of foreigners dried fruit is iyda, familiar to every Azerbaijani from childhood. If few of the inhabitants imagine how the plant and the fresh fruits of an innab look like, then most of the Baku citizens are familiar with the iyda tree: it grows in courtyards, squares and along roadsides throughout the city.
The botanical name of iyda is Elaeagnus angustifolia. In various countries, it is also called djida, wild olive, date, silver berry, etc.
The iyda tree has narrow, whitish-silvery leaves and small yellow fragrant flowers. The fruits of iyda outwardly similar to the fruits of Innab, so many even confuse them. The color of the fruit is also reddish; however, it is not as saturated and uniform as the Innab. The rind of the fruit is easily separated from the mealy sweet pulp covering the elongated hard bone. Unripe fruits can have a slightly astringent taste due to the presence of tannins, and ripe fruits contain over 40 percent of sugars. Rich in proteins, salts of potassium and phosphorus, organic acids, iyda fruits are useful in the treatment of diseases of the digestive tract.
The cost of iyda fruits in Azerbaijan is approximately 3-4 manat per kilogram (1.5-2.5 dollars).
The dried fruits of ordinary or Caucasian persimmon are a constant companion of the innab and iyda on the tables of Azerbaijanis. True, Caucasian persimmon is not at all like the usual orange persimmon. Its fruits are small, the size of a grape. In overripe and dried form, they are blue-black in color, with a bluish-gray tint, like those of a plum. This fruit has a fleshy honey-sweet flesh that tastes like a cross between dates and raisins.
Caucasian persimmon – a real delicacy, which is used independently or as sweetness to tea. Its fruits have a high calorie content, saturated with sugars, vitamins A (carotene) and C, proteins, microelements (sodium, potassium, calcium, magnesium, phosphorus, iodine, iron). Their use contributes to the rapid restoration of strength, strengthens the immune system, helps to resist viral and inflammatory processes in the body. Pectins and tannins contained in the fruit help regulate the activity of the gastrointestinal tract. Due to the presence of iron, Caucasian persimmon successfully used for anemia. Persimmon fruits also have a beneficial effect on the condition of the liver and biliary tract.
In a word, you should definitely try this tasty and healthy fruit. The cost of a kilogram of dried Caucasian persimmon varies approximately in the range of 5-10 manats (3-6 dollars).
The only inconvenience when eating Caucasian persimmon is the presence of a large number of seeds: one small fruit can contain about 5-6 seeds. If you like the taste of dried persimmon, but are bothered by the “bonyness” of small fruits, then pay attention to its other type — the eastern persimmon.
Well-known to many, orange-colored large-fruited persimmon grows in Azerbaijan in abundance. Even in Baku, you can see its trees, in the season hung with bright fruits. Of course, with such abundance you need to do something, and besides the fact that the fruits are realized fresh, they are dried.
Everywhere in the markets and supermarkets you can see bunches of dried persimmon wrapped in flour. Its fruit is larger than that of most other dried fruits, and seedless varieties are mainly used for drying, so it is pleasant to eat it. At the same time, it is inexpensive: 3-4 manat per kilogram (1.5-2.5 dollars).
The fleshy pulp of dried persimmon tastes sweet as honey, very tasty and nutritious. The color of the fruit and pulp is brown with an amber tint. Azeris eat dried persimmon as an independent dessert, often during tea drinking.
The beneficial properties of fresh persimmon are fully preserved in dried fruits. This product is rich in potassium, calcium, magnesium, phosphorus, iron, vitamins A, C and P. It contains a lot of proteins, carbohydrates, organic acids, tannins and antioxidants. Despite the high content of sugars, persimmon is a dietary product. Its fruits support the health of the cardiovascular system, while the level of glucose in the blood does not reach a peak. And due to the presence of pectin, persimmon is useful in digestive disorders and gastric diseases.
The mulberry tree is widespread in Azerbaijan, both in the regions and in the capital. In the summer season, black, red and white mulberries are sold in the markets and supermarkets of the country. Black and red are usually consumed fresh. And from the berries of white mulberry tree, bekmez (fruit honey) is often prepared. In addition, white mulberry is consumed in dried form.
Dried white mulberries look almost like fresh, except that it is slightly darker in color. Their taste is sweet and pleasant. Dried mulberry can be used as a standalone product, and added to pastries and desserts.
White mulberry has a rich composition, which includes tannins, essential oils, sugars, flavonoids, amino acids, pectins, zinc, iron, potassium, magnesium, calcium, selenium, vitamins A, PP, C, group B.
The use of white mulberry helps to neutralize the activity of free radicals, boosts immunity, strengthens the walls of blood vessels, myocardial heart muscle, normalizes blood pressure during hypotension, improves digestion, etc.
The cost of dried white mulberries in Azerbaijan starts from about 5 manat per kilogram (from $3).