Depending on the variety, hazelnuts may grow as a bush or small tree which may reach 15 - 20 meters in height. Hazelnuts grow in mild regions of the northern hemisphere. There are five main varieties grown in Turkey: Tombul (fat), the thin-shelled sivri (pointed), badem (almond), kan (blood) and fosa (?). Here they are chiefly grown in the Black Sea region around the cities of Ordu, Samsun and Giresun. Recently hazelnut oil has begun to be used in cooking.
Jujube (Zizyphus jujuba)
Jujubes are the fruit of a thorny tree up to 4 meters in height. It bears fragrant flowers in April-May. The fruits are reddish brown, about the size of a large olive, and contain a single pit. It both grows wild and is cultivated in orchards.
Lemons grow on a small tree from 3-5 m in height, which bears pinkish-white fragrant flowers from March to October. Originating in China and brought to Europe by the Arabs in the 10th century, lemons are now raised throughout Turkey’s Mediterranean region. The leaves are oval, smooth, glossy and dark green. The flowers have five petals and five sepals. The sour fruits are oval, light yellow, shiny and slightly rough and glandular.
Mandarine oranges are smaller than a regular orange, fragrant, with a rough or smooth yellow-orange peel. Its peel is thinner than that of an orange and easier to peel, but less sturdy. In Turkey, it is mostly cultivated in the regions of Alanya, Antalya, Mersin, Iskenderun (Dörtyol) and Rize. However mandarins from Bodrum mandarins are famous.
Medlar (Mespilus germanicus)
Medlars grow on a dwarfish tree from 2-3 meters in height. Its fruit are brown, brown or oval in shape, and have five long sepals attached to the flower end. The mostly five-seeded fruit is hard and astringent when first picked. The fruits are then “bletted,” or stored in a cool place until they become extremely soft, and have a consistency of applesauce. The two best known varieties in Turkey are döngel (“turn and come back”) and beşbıyık (five moustache).
Melons originated in Central Asia, and are most cultivated in tropical and temperate regions. The world-famous Canteloupe variety originated in the regions of Van and Diyarbakır. The “topatan” and “çitli” varieties raised in Thrace and the Istanbul region have a thin, yellow rind and do not hold up well to handling. In the Aegean region, and Manisa in particular, the Kırkağaç variety is favored. With a hard rind and a delicious flavor, these melons are also suitable for export. some of the sub-varieties of the Kırkağaç melon include Hasan bey, altınbaş, dilimli and hallaç. Melons are also sometimes harvested while still small and green, when they have a cucumber-like flavor. Used mostly in pickles, they are known as kelek at this stage.
Morello cherry trees are from 5-10 meters in height, and bear white flowers in April and May. The leaves are short-stemmed, smooth, glossy green, with serrated edges and a pointed end. The long-stemmed, flat disced flowers bloom before the leaves in umbrella-like clusters on short spurs.
These citrus fruits are either round or lightly egg shaped, with yellow-to-orange skin and fragrant, tart juice. Orange trees are generally from 2-3 meters in height. The inner portion of the peel is white and pithy. The peel is leathery with many oil glands.
There are many orange varieties, some with and others without seeds. The seedless “Finike” is a variety of the oblong “Jaffa” orange, and is growin mainly in Mersin and Hatay. The “Dörtyol” variety has seeds. “Washington” is a well-known seedless navel variety.
Peach trees are from 3-5 meters in height. The fragrant, juicy fruits are from 5-10 cm in diameter. Originating in China, it was then cultivated in Iran, and later brought to Anatolia, from which it spread to Europe.
Quinces are are the fruit of a 2-5 meter tall tree that bears scarlet flowers in June and July. The many-seeded fruits are round and about the size of a large orange. Their leathery skin is at first green, ripening to a reddish color. The edible portion is the juicy pulp that surrounds each seed.
Quinces have a very ancient history, and are known to have been cultivated in Asia and around the Mediterranean for over four hundred years. Like pears and apples, they belong to the rose family. In Western Asia and tropical countries, the fruit is softer and juicier; in cold climates the fruits are attractive, yellow, and deliciously fragrant, with hard peels and flesh. When eaten fresh they are lightly to extremely astringent.
Ahududu, Ağaç Çileği, Sultan Böğürtleni
These are found mainly in wooded mountain areas, ripening in July and August. Many varieties are raised in gardens.
Russian Olive (Eleagnus angustifolia)
The Russian olive is a tree of the Aegean region. The variety known as kuş iğdesi (bird iğde) grows throughout Anatolia. It is often used as a hedge plant at the edge of gardens and orchards. The tree is from 7-8 meters in height and its flowers deliciously fragrant. The fruit, which resembles a light brown olive, is edible after it dries; the soft dry body of the fruit surrounds a single pit.
Another plant in the rose family, it has white or pink flowers. Its fruit starts out greenish white, ripening to pink and then darkening and becoming fragrant.
Watermelons are the large, hard-skinned fruit of an annual herbaceous vine, most cultivated in Mediterranean countries. Originating in Africa, it is known to have been cultivated in ancient Egypt. There are many different varieties, named according to color, shape and where they are raised. Some of the favored varieties in Turkey include:
Yeni Dünya — Much planted in the Marmara region, it has a thin, light-colored rind and dark red, crisp and sweet flesh. Its seeds are small and white.
Alacalı— A light green watermelon with evenly-spaced dark spots. It has a hard rind, pinkish-red flesh and black seeds.
Kara — Very sweet and flavorful fruits with a thick dark green rind. Because the inner flesh appears crystalline, it is also known as kara buz, or black ice. It has small, reddish seeds, with occasional black seeds as well.
Gülle — Α winter variety, it is dark green and shaped like a cannonball, which is the meaning of its name.
Washington— A variegated green, early bearing variety with a thin rind.
Diyarbakır — A round fruit with a very thick variegated rind. Averaging from 20-30 kg, it may reach 50-60 kg.
A member of the rose family (Rosaceae), this is a wild-occurring pear, which is used as a rootstock for selected pear varieties. Its fruit can be eaten when fully ripe.