[NAFEX] Apricots from Afghanistan
dwoodard at becon.org
Sat Apr 10 12:47:01 EDT 2010
Yesterday I read that someone in the U.S. is growing apricots from
Hunza, and that they blossom especially late. Hunza is just east of
north Afghanistan. I suspect that apricots of this and neighbouring
populations may come fairly true from seed, perhaps even more than other
From reading, orchards have long been very important in Afghanistan,
and dried apricots and mulberries used to be important in the economy of
the country, I think especially when the population was smaller as in
the 19th century and previously. The memoirs of the late Sir Richard
Gale of the British Army extol the delicious grapes of Kandahar which he
ate in the 1920s, imported fresh into what is now western Pakistan on
camelback, and I have read that grape growing is still important around
But I understand that the orchards have suffered badly in the wars of
the last 30 years, and I expect that all the land mines that have been
planted have intefered with their restoration.
Trees from your sprouted seeds might suit the dry western parts of the
U.S. better than the northeast, but who knows. I suspect that Ken
Taylor's "Precious" apricot which he found in Ontario on high ground
between Toronto and Georgian Bay, one of an old regional population,
originated with Russian seedlings, possibly derived from Central Asia,
which were distributed as subscription premiums by the Ontario Fruit
Growers' Association around 1900 or a little before.
St. Catharines, Ontario
Melissa Kacalanos wrote:
> I'm following up on a very old topic I started. I bought some dried
> apricots imported from Afghanistan a while ago, and wondered if the pits
> would sprout. It turns out, they do. At least, I cold-stratified 4, and
> 1 sprouted yesterday. Now I'm wondering what to do with this little
> seedling. Also, does anyone want some pits to grow themselves? These are
> of interest mainly as novelties I think, for people who want something
> straight from Afghanistan, and have room for a tree of unpredictable
> quality. Let me know if you'd like some seeds.
> Otherwise, I'll probably just eat the seeds, since they're really delicious.
> Oh, and thanks very much for all the great advice on peaches,
> particularly regarding rootstocks. I'll look into this further.
> --- On *Fri, 5/8/09, Melissa Kacalanos /<mijwiz at yahoo.com>/* wrote:
> -----Original Message-----
> From: Melissa Kacalanos <mijwiz at yahoo.com>
> To: North American Fruit Explorers <nafex at lists.ibiblio.org>
> Sent: Thu, 7 May 2009 1:44 pm
> Subject: [NAFEX] Apricots from Afghanistan
> I was grocery shopping the other day, and found some interesting
> things: organic dried apricots, whole with pits, and organic
> apricot kernels, both imported from Afghanistan. Forgive me for
> being surprised that at least part of Afghanistan has been
> stable for long enough to allow an orchard to exist.
> The apricot kernels are really delicious, similar to almonds but
> more flavorful. The apricots are a strange color, off-white
> rather than orange. They're very small, very sweet, lacking
> tartness, and with only a subtle apricot flavor.
> I wonder if the kernels inside the dried fruit are edible too.
> If they're poisonous, will that be obvious, like they'll taste
> I'm also wondering what would happen if I tried to plant the
> pits from the fruit, or the shelled kernels. They're not
> roasted, but I don't know if the drying process killed them,
> since I'm sure the importer didn't plan for anyone to plant
> these things. However, I've been surprised at the things I've
> grown from packaged food, like tamarind from a block of tamarind
> pulp, which made a very pretty houseplant, and spices. Just for
> kicks, what would be the best way to try to sprout these, if
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