The Apricot tree thrives on well-drained mountainous slopes. They can tolerate temperatures down to -30°C, but tend to be sensitive to winter temperature changes. Early spring flowering makes them susceptible to spring frosts.
The fruit is a drupe (similar to peaches and almonds), and the seed or kernel is a good substitute for almonds (often used to flavour Italian Liqueur Amaretto and Amaretti biscotti).
Dried apricots were historically an important trading commodity in Persia.
Our whole pitted sun dried Malatya variety apricots originate from Turkey the world’s leading apricot producing country.
Fresh Malatya apricots collected from the trees are cured then pitted and dried in the sun. They are mechanically double washed, and selected to remove any foreign materials.
A popular health food snack, dried apricots are low in calories and high in fibre. They are a good source of vitamin A, beta carotene and potassium and have a low glycaemic index. Apricot kernels are traditionally used in Chinese medicine for treating asthma, coughs and constipation.
The common fig (Ficus carica) is a species of flowering plant in the genus Ficus, native to the Middle East and western Asia. Having been cultivated for thousands of years, they are thought to be the first known instance of agriculture (subfossil figs dated about 9000 BC were found in a Neolithic village in the Jordan Valley).
Although known as a fruit, the fig is actually the infructescence or an ‘ingrowing’ flower of the tree, the small orifice in the middle of the fruit allows the specialized fig wasp to enter the fruit and pollinate the flower.
It grows wild in dry and sunny areas, with deep and fresh soil; also in rocky areas, from sea level to 1,700 meters. It prefers light and medium soils, requires well-drained soil, and can tolerate seasonal drought (by virtue of its aggressive root system), so the Middle Eastern and Mediterranean climate is particularly suitable for the plant.
- The fruits were used by the Romans, among other things, to fatten geese for the production of a precursor of foie gras.
- In the 16th century, Cardinal Reginald Pole introduced fig trees to Lambeth Palace in London.
Figs are among the richest plant sources of calcium and fibre as well as a good source of copper, manganese, magnesium, potassium, calcium, and vitamin K
Figs have a laxative effect, contain many antioxidants and are a good source of flavonoids and polyphenols.
A NATURAL TREAT
A delicious mix – the natural snack alternative
A hazelnut is the nut of the hazel (the cobnut or filbert are species of the same family)
Turkey is the largest producer of hazelnuts accounting for 625,000 tonnes – about 75% of worldwide production although Italy, Greece, Georgia, Spain, the USA as well as the UK are commercial producers
Long term cultivation of hazelnuts became evident with the discovery on the island of Colonsay in Scotland in 1995 of large-scale Mesolithic nut processing dating back 9,000 years.
Harvested annually in mid-autumn, most commercial growers wait for the nuts to drop on their own, rather than use equipment to shake them from the tree.
Hazelnuts are used in confectionery to make praline, and also used in combination with chocolate for chocolate truffles and products such as Nutella and Frangelico liqueur. Hazelnut oil, pressed from hazelnuts, is strongly flavoured and used as a cooking oil.
Hazelnuts are rich in protein, unsaturated fat and complex carbohydrates. Moreover, they contain significant amounts of thiamine and vitamin B6, as well as smaller amounts of other B vitamins. Low in Cholesterol and Sodium, they are also a good source of Vitamin E (Alpha Tocopherol) and Copper, and a very good source of Manganese.
Hazelnuts contain phytochemicals including proanthocyanidins, quercetin and kaempherol. These proanthocyanidins belong to a group called the flavonoids which may support brain health, improve circulation and reduce symptoms associated with allergies
A mix of Peanuts, Cashews, Sweet almonds, Hazelnuts, Brazil Nuts & Walnuts.
Perfect for a protein boost, a handful of nuts every day are a a good source of omega-3 fatty acids and vitamin E – and may be a useful tool in fighting heart disease and cancer.
The peanut, or groundnut (Arachis hypogaea), is not actually a nut but a member of the legume or “bean” family. It is a small annual herb which grows up to 30cm above the ground
Probably first domesticated and cultivated in Paraguay, the oldest specimens, found in Peru, have been dated to about 7,600 years ago. The Spanish conquistadors found the ‘tlalcacahuatl’ (from which came the Spanish, cacahuate and French, cacahuète) being sold in the marketplace of Tenochtitlan (now Mexico City).
India and China are the world’s largest producers of peanuts, but most of their production is consumed domestically as peanut oil, so exports are less than 4% of world trade. The major producers/exporters of peanuts are the United States, Argentina, Sudan, Senegal, and Brazil. These five countries account for 71% of total world exports.
Peanuts provide over 30 essential nutrients and phytonutrients. They are a good source of niacin, folic acid, fibre, vitamin E, magnesium and phosphorus. They also are naturally free of trans-fats and sodium, and contain about 25% protein (a higher proportion than in any true nut). Peanuts are a source of coenzyme Q10, (as found in oily fish, beef, soybeans and spinach) and an excellent source of polyphenolic antioxidant, resveratrol, believed to provide a protective function against cancer, heart disease, nerve disease, Alzheimer’s, and viral/fungal infections.
The pecan (Carya illinoinensis), is a species of hickory, native to south-central North America.
A pecan, like the fruit of all other members of the hickory genus, is strictly speaking a drupe not a nut, a fruit with a single stone or pit, surrounded by a husk.
Pecans first became known to Spanish explorers in what is now Mexico, Texas, and Louisiana. More familiar with the genus Juglans, these explorers referred to the nuts asnogales and nueces, the Spanish terms for “walnut trees” and “fruit of the walnut.”
One of the most recently domesticated major crops – commercial growing of pecans in the United States didn’t start until the 1880s.
Pecan trees may live and bear edible seeds for more than 300 years
Pecans are a good source of protein and unsaturated fats. Like walnuts pecans are rich in omega-6 fatty acids
The antioxidants and plant sterols found in pecans reduce high cholesterol by reducing the “bad” LDL cholesterol levels
Pine nuts are the edible seeds of pines (family Pinaceae, genus Pinus). Although a nut in the culinary sense, in the botanical sense pine nuts are seeds.
20 species produce seeds worth harvesting. The most widely traded are the Korean Pine (Pinus koraiensis) in northeast Asia and Chilgoza Pine (Pinus gerardiana) in the western Himalayas.
Pine nuts produced in Europe mostly come from the Stone Pine (Pinus pinea), which has been cultivated for over 6,000 years.They tend to be longer relative to width than the stubbier Asian varieties
Pine nuts contain 10–34% protein and are a source of dietary fibre.
Pine nuts have been eaten in Europe and Asia since the Paleolithic period. An essential ingredient for Italian pesto sauce, they are also added to salads, meat, fish and vegetable dishes or baked into bread
Pine nuts are also widely used in Middle Eastern cuisine in dishes such as kibbeh and sambusak and desserts such as baklava. In Spain, a sweet is made of small marzipan balls covered with pine nuts, painted with egg and lightly cooked.
- High calorific content – 100 g of dry-kernels provide 673 calories.
- Numerous phyto-chemicals, vitamins, antioxidants, and minerals that help lower LDL or “bad cholesterol” and increases HDL or “good-cholesterol” in the blood.
- Also contain essential fatty acid (ω-6 fat), pinolenic acid.
- Recent research has shown its potential use in weight loss by curbing the appetite.
- Excellent source of vitamin E and B-complex group of vitamins such as thiamine, riboflavin, niacin, pantothenic acid, vitamin B-6 (pyridoxine) and folates;
- Free from gluten
- One of the richest sources of manganese and contain other minerals, potassium, calcium, iron, magnesium, zinc and selenium.