Edible Wild Fruits

Coruh Valley holds a great richness of wild fruits with regard to variety and biological diversity. Field researches has been conducted in Ispir and Uzundere that identified a total of 17 different species. Since the availability of land for cultivation is limited due to the steepness of the land, collecting wild fruits has been more important than fruit growing.

Detailed Info

 Coruh Valley holds a great richness of wild fruits with regard to variety and biological diversity. With their wide variety of form the wild fruits create unbelievable displays in the region’s unique landscape. As the edible wild plants grow on dry land, their flavour, minerals and smell is more concentrated than in cultivated fruit. Wild fruit is found in many areas, including erosion zones and areas where it’s too windy for normal fruit trees and where they also have a conservation function. They are also a host for other elements of the eco-system including insects and birds. Migratory birds distribute their seeds and their fading leaves add to the autumn colour. Important wild trees are often reserved for one family; everyone, except bears, respect the rules. While collecting walnuts or apples, village women in Barhal sometimes see bears eating from a nearby tree. Local fruit is used fresh, dried (in jams, syrups, marmalades) and to make “pestil” (mulberry marmalade “leather”) and “ceviz sucugu” (a sausage-shaped fruit concentrate). It is also used in natural medicine to treat many different ailments. Some 17 different species have been listed below.

  1. Raspberry Rubus idaeus
  2. Rosehip Rosa spp
  3. Sloe Prunus spp
  4. Hawthorn Crateagus spp
  5. Sea backturn Hippophae rhamnoides
  6. Date plum Diospyros lotus
  7. Cornelian cherry Cornus mas
  8. Wild pear Pyrus elaegrifolia
  9. European barberry Berberis vulgaris
  10. Banyan fig Ficus spp
  11. Shrubby blackberry Rubus fruticosus
  12. Wild cherry Prunus avium
  13. Mahleb Prunus mahleb
  14. Black mulberry Morus nigra
  15. Crabapple Malus spp
  16. Pomegranate Punica granatum
  17. Quince Cydonia vulgaris

Since the availability of land for cultivation is limited due to the steepness of the land, collecting wild fruits has been more important than fruit growing. The wild fruits collected are consumed fresh or in dried forms or alternatively they, particularly Cornelian Cherries and black mulberries are used for making syrup and pestils (dried fruit pulp).

Black mulberry: There are many old specimens of this large tree around Yusufeli. The delicious juicy fruit is collected at the end of July and eaten fresh or used in syrup, jams or ‘pekmez’ (grape or fruit molasses).

Wild strawberries, raspberries and blackberries: These grow on damp slopes near forest or the edge of roads. They are collected early August and used fresh or for jam.

Rosehip: This is collected in September. It is used to make marmalade and also dried for a medicinal tea, which is used for infections and colds.
 There are four types of Hawthorn Berries, including an endemic one, which grow in the area. They are used as a remedy for heart problems.

Wild cherry: This grows on a large tree and has either a red or black fruit. It is found in the Salakcur valley near Ispir.

Wild pear: This grows on tall, dark trees (locally called ‘Banda’ or ‘Ahlat’) and found in quantity in the Coruh Valley. Crab apples are less common. Both are picked in September and dried for use as a winter food.
 Smaller plants used for medicine include the Sea Buckthorn (used as a painkiller and for wounds) and the Barberry (used as syrup or a soup and as a cure for colds). The seeds of a Prunus tree found only in Uzundere and Ispir (locally called the ‘Melhem’) are used for breathing difficulties and diabetes.

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