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Azerbaijan, heaven of apples

28 January 2015 [10:21] - TODAY.AZ

/By AzerNews/

By Amina Nazarli

Apples are not just a very popular fruit. They are also a symbol of knowledge, temptation, love and fertility. Probably, no other fruit is so popular associated with so many mythical stories as the apple.

The main reason behind calling an apple, a fruit from heaven is linked with this fact that the apple is the very fruit that God prohibited Eve and Adam to consume in the Garden of Eden.

The saying “An apple a day keeps the doctor away” comes to mind when you bite into a juicy apple. This fruit is extremely rich in terms of antioxidants, flavonoids and dietary fibre. The phytonutrients and antioxidants in apples may help reduce the risk of developing cancer, hypertension, diabetes and heart disease. Also, apples contain almost no fat, sodium or cholesterol.

Azerbaijan with its variegated nature containing almost all climatic zones has about 300 varieties of apples. Yellow, green, red, purple and pink - the color palette of growing apples are very rich and colorful. Even rosy cheeks of beauties are compared with redness of apples.

Guba region may rightly be considered as a motherland of Azerbaijani apples. All the region is full of apple orchards. Smell of juicy and aromatic apple trees have spread into every stone and every house of this beautiful northern region. It seems like you are in the heaven of apples.

Guba’s most famous kind of apple is the “White Apple” (Ag alma). One cannot satisfy his/her hunger trying this yellow, fragrant and red cheeked fruit. Azerbaijanis are so proud of this kind of apple that they wrote a song for it called “Guba’s White Apple”. And it is not surprisingly when you think that one-third of them are involved in the apple harvesting in some capacity.

Apples accustomed to the culture of Azerbaijan that every autumn Guba region celebrates an Apple Festival that attract many foreign tourists. Not only the trees, but the town also turns red and gold, as everything is painted in apple hues.

The queen of all apples in Azerbaijan is undoubtedly “Gizilahmadi”. If you ask the Azerbaijanis to call their favorite apple, the first thing that will come to their minds would be, for sure, Gizilahmadi.

This kind of apple, having extraordinary flavor is relatively small than others and has beautiful appetizing red color. Its aroma is so intense that probably, the snake in the Garden of Eden seduced Eve mainly with this magnificent apple.

This kind of apple is like a bunch of vitamins. Doctors talk for hours about its benefit, as Gizilahmadi contains a large amount of iron, which very useful for children, pregnant women and those who suffer from lack of iron.

Due to its useful properties, many say that it is more precious than gold. This also shows why this is called Gizilahmadi ( “gizil” means “gold” in Azerbaijani).

Generated locally, Gizilahmadi is mostly grown up in Ismailli, Sheki, Guba and Zagatala regions. From the 1,000 hectares of fruits field located in Ismailli region, 70 hectares are constituting Gizilahmadi apple.

Azerbaijan is also famous for its “Paradise apples” (Jannat almasi). These small and cute sort of apples look like golden crab apples but taste far sweeter.

Azerbaijanis usually use them for preparing Murabba (jam or confiture). This jam is usually eaten by the spoonful with tea, rather than bread. After cooking they are like jelly and you can enjoy their gorgeous taste, holding their long and thin stems.

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