FRESH FRUITS ARE THE MOST FLAVORFUL INDICATORS OF ABUNDANCE AND PLENTY.
With their appetizing appearance and diverse tastes, fresh fruits are a rich source of nutrition. So much so that even their beneficial acids are good for you. And when it comes to flavor, fruit is a perennial favorite that is not only consumed as is but is also used to enhance the flavor of cooked dishes. In Ottoman cuisine, fruit was used both for flavor and as a main ingredient. Among palace staples, for example, were meat and fruit stews in which fruits such as quince, apples, plums, sour cherries, green almonds, apricots, and loquats were preferred for their tart, sour taste.
Main dishes made with fruit are on the verge of oblivion in Turkey’s large cities today but are still prepared in various parts of Anatolia. Not only that, thanks to the spread of greenhouse farming we can also find most fruits, like vegetables, even out of season nowadays. Here are four recipes in which fruit takes pride of place...
BRAISED DAMSON PLUMS
15 damson plums
100 g butter
Pit the plums. Peel the shallots and cut off the tips. Melt the butter in a skillet. Saute the shallots in the melted butter. When slightly tender, add the plums and braise together until tender. Serve with Tas Kebab (meat stew).
BRAISED PEACHES and APRICOTS WITH MOLASSES
10 fresh apricots
1 cup grape molasses
100 g butter
Peel and pit the peaches and apricots and slice. Melt the butter in a large skillet. Add the peeled, sliced fruit and saute in the melted butter. When the fruit begins to soften, add the molasses and cook a while longer. Pour into individual serving dishes while still hot, and serve cold.
1 kg blackberries
6 tbsp sugar3 tbsp wheat starch
Crush the blackberries and strain through a piece of cheesecloth. Fill a pot with water and add first the sugar, then the starch, and mix well. Then add the blackberry juice. Mixing well, cook over medium heat until the sugar-starch mixture thickens. Rinse a large glass dish with water, pour in the cooked blackberry jelly and chill. The jelly will be ready to serve in three hours.
WILD FRUIT COMPOTE
200 g strawberries
150 g damson plums
150 g blackberries
150 g white grapes
300 g sugar
2 liter water
Pit and remove the stems from all the fruit and halve the strawberries and damson plums. Fill a pot with water and sugar and boil to make a syrup. Then add the fruit and boil until slightly tender. Remove from the heat and chill.