Tag Archives: Turkey

Greedy among the flowers — and fruit.


Who can explain why we love it—West Lake is good.
The beautiful scene is without time,
Flying canopies chase each other,
Greedy to be among the flowers, drunk, with a jade cup.

Who can know I’m idle here, leaning on the rail.
Fragrant grass in slanting rays,
Fine mist on distant water,
One white egret flying from the Immortal Isle.

-Ouyang Xiu,  (1007 – 1072) China

I get the impression that this outing to West Lake is primarily a chance to get away from work. The poet enjoys being idle, and maybe he and his friends just happen to find mulberries to pick while they are enjoying their drink and exulting in the beauty of the day.

In any case, even the title of the poem is not about eating the mulberries — but the fruit itself is on my mind since I recently discovered dried white mulberries in the market, from Turkey. They are unlike any dried fruit I’ve ever eaten. Their extreme sweetness leads people to say that the flavor is honey-like; the chewiness of them is what I love most.

I read that nearly every village in Anatolia grows them, and the growers also make mulberry syrup, which I’d like to try as well. So I offer some photos that I found online. I also ran across a post, “White Mulberries,” from a  Turkish blog, and it contains the kind of information that is most interesting to me.

The site Tropical Fruit Trees shows photos of several varieties of Mulberry, by which I was able to see that the ones I’ve eaten dried are the “Persian White” type. They are the most cold hardy and grow in USDA zones 3b through 9. If I had twice as much land as I do, I would surely want to plant one of these trees. They attract birds, and produce lots of fruit, which means, plenty to dry. The leaves are not only the best food for silkworms, but make good livestock feed as well. Maybe one of my readers will be inspired to plant a Persian White!

Tea and Tomatoes

Turkish tea fr Kate 9-2014Kate brought me the most amazing tea from Istanbul. I keep sniffing it and trying to discern what all those exotic smells are — no label tells me anything about it. And I’m kind of afraid to make a pot of tea and end up disappointed, because you know how herbal teas often don’t taste as good as their dry aromas lead you to expect? It  Well, what do I expect, after all that watering down…

P1110230 new mugBut when I do take the plunge, I will drink it out of this new mug I gifted myself with. Big mugs, preferably those that hold a pint, are my favorites, but they usually aren’t so girly looking. When I saw this big and flowery one, there was little deliberating.

Today Mr. and Mrs. C. came over. The guys then went to Starbucks to drink tea and talk, and we “girls” worked in the garden. It reminded me of when I was in Turkey lo these many years ago, and in the villages the men would sit in the café and drink tea and play tavla (backgammon) while the women were out in the olive groves harvesting the fruit.tomatoes peeling 9-14

But today really wasn’t much like that – we also spent quite a while looking at pictures of Kate’s wedding for which Mrs. C. had arranged the flowers, and we talked to the man who delivered a cord of firewood on to our driveway. He is 83 and still does all his own busintomatoes peeled 9-14ess.

Mrs. C. is always glad to take cuttings from my garden to experiment with. This time I sent her home with some wayward sprouts of my mystery salvia, and some succulents. Also some of our lovely Yellow Brandywines. But we still have more tomatoes than we can use fresh, so I scalded and peeled a bunch last week and made tomato pudding.

tomatoes peeling ice