Armenia has a mountainous terrain. This makes it more difficult for plants to grow, but when they do grow they taste much better. The special combination of sun, fresh spring water and the amount of stones close to the plant and its roots make a wonderful result. The last point is particularly important. According to the local know-how the rocks gather heat during the day and keep the plant warm during the night, adding that extra goodness.
One of the most famous Armenian fruit is Apricot. Armenians love it so much that made it their national symbol. It not only tastes great it has a very unique difference from all other fruits. The seed of apricot is edible and has a sweetish taste. Armenians pay attention to the seed, because as you know, seed is the new beginning. Apricot is widely used in Armenian cuisine. It is also dried to be consumed throughout the year. Locals prepare vodka, brandy and even wine from it. Apricot has a different application also, or rather the tree of it. The legendary Armenian music instrument, Duduk, is made out of apricot tree. It is also called the Apricot Tube (Tsiranapogh in Armenian).
Pomegranate is also a symbol of Armenia. It symbolizes fertility, abundance and marriage. It has always been widely used in marriage ceremonies in Armenia. The fruit is also used in making wine, which differs a lot from grape wine. It is also a very old kind of plant. Since it has been growing in the Mesopotamia, it is believed that it can be the forbidden fruit.
Throughout centuries a significant part of Armenia’s arable land has been turned into vineyards. Grapes have many applications in Armenian cuisine, culture and religion. However, the main use of grapes in Armenia is, of course, for making wine or the blood of Christ. Every year after the blessing of grapes the wineries are allowed to collect grapes for winemaking. There are several kinds of grapes that have slightly different taste and shape, one of the best being Kishmish. In Armenian cuisine grapes are dried to make raisins (Chamich in Armenian) or distill to make one of the toughest vodkas. The leaves of the grapes are used in making a traditional dish called Tolma, while the branches make a very good barbecue wood. They keep burning longer as well as they transfer their special aroma to the meat.
Armenian highland is rich with different types of cherries. Besides being sour or sweet they are also white, white and red and completely red. Each of them have slightly different uses in the kitchen. White cherries, for example, are mostly used in making confitures. However, except for eating, in Armenia they are mainly used like anywhere else in the world – decoration.
Ironically rocks are one of the crucial ingredients for growing one of the juiciest fruits in the world – the watermelon. It grows in rocky fields under plentiful of sun. Due to its refreshing ability watermelon is the number one pleasure on a hot summer day in Armenia.There is also Watermelon Festival. Melon fits with its juicier partner and they make a harmonious couple.
Berries in Armenia are widespread. They grow basically everywhere without any human interference. They have many health benefits. Armenians use berries for preparing confitures and compotes. One of the berries growing in Armenia is Rose hip. It is not advised to eat them fresh because of its tiny needles, but the juice and tea is heavenly. Sea buckthorn is another fascinating berry. It is very sour and therefore hard to eat fresh and again its juice is more preferable.
Persimmon is a wonderful fruit. So much so that the old Romans called it the fruit of gods. Armenians are lucky to have this fruit growing in their mountains. There are two types of them. Locals call them “Khurma” and “Korolyok”. These are both foreign words. Korolyok should not be very ripe when you eat it, while Khurma is best to eat when it is very ripe and soft to touch. Armenians also dry them to make a dessert, which some believe is much better than fresh ones. Locals also make vodka from it, which has a very distinctive odor and taste.
Quince is another interesting fruit from Armenia. It looks like an apple, is the only member of Rosaceae family, has sour taste and can be difficult to eat due to its drying effect. Nevertheless, the health benefits of the fruit make up for it. Armenians use quince to make compotes, confitures and even wine.
Fig also has a variety of uses in Armenian Cuisine. Both red and white figs are consumed fresh or dried. Armenians also dry them, make delicious jam or distill to make the best homemade vodka. Like pomegranate, fig is also an old plant and it is also thought to be the forbidden fruit. Due to its large leafs it is believed that Eva and Adam were covering themselves with these leaves.
Mulberry (Tut in Armenian) has one, but very important application in the Armenian Cuisine. Apart from being consumed fresh, it is used to make vodka, which became the most loved alcoholic beverage of locals. The spirit has numerous health benefits and is widely used in traditional medicine. The harvest of mulberry is one of the most treasured activity for kids.
Pshat is another fruit that has a unique taste. After you peal the thin skin you can enjoy somewhat sweet and very airy fruit. Like berries it is also widespread in Armenia. You can pick them up on roadside or places closer to water.
Hawthorn (Aloj in Armenian) is a very unique fruit. In its small body it contains a lot of useful materials for human body. There are two types of hawthorns growing in Armenia – red and black. Although very similar, the black one has somewhat more flavor and nutrition to them. You can get hawthorns in supermarkets and open markets. There is even hawthorn tea on sale.
Other, more well-known kinds of fruits growing in the Armenian Plateau are apple, pear, plum and peach. There are many varieties of these fruits and they primarily have similar uses in Armenian cuisine. They are being dried, used in different religious and traditional festivities or distilled.