Blueberries (Cyanococcus Vaccinium) are perennial flowering plants in the same family as cranberries and bilberries.
Country of origin
Although only introduced in the early 1980’s, Chile is the biggest South American producer with an estimated area of 12.400 hectares in 2012. Grown from Copiapó in the north to Puerto Montt in the south allows blueberries production from October to late March.
Dried Blueberries are prepared by infusing blueberries in sucrose syrup then drying the berries to a specified moisture content. Sunflower Oil is topically applied. The finished dried fruit is quality checked, visually inspected, and passed through a metal detector before packaging.
The cherry is a fleshy drupe (stone fruit). The sour cherry Prunus cerasus is thought to have originated as a natural hybrid between Prunus avium and Prunus fruticosa in the Caucasus
Cherries have a very short growing season and can grow in most temperate latitudes. The peak season for cherries in southern Europe and North America is June
The English word cherry, French cerise and Spanish cereza come from the classical Greek (κέρασος) through the Latin cerasum
As well as a delicious snack, dried sour cherries are used in cooking including soups and pork dishes, cakes, tarts, and piesand also in liquers and drinks
The coconut is a fibrous one-seeded drupe, also known as a dry drupe which technically means it’s a fruit rather than a nut.
Interesting Coconut Facts
- Coconuts are called the “Tree of Life” as every bit of the coconut is used to produce drink, fibre, food, fuel, utensils, musical instruments, and much more.
- The term is derived from 16th century Portuguese / Spanish coco, meaning “skull” after the three small holes on the coconut shell resembling facial features.
- Coconut water was used as a substitute intravenous solution for blood transfusion during World War II and Vietnam.
- In 16th century, Sir Francis Drake called coconut “nargils”, which was the common term used until the 1700’s when the word coconut was established.
- It takes 11 -12 months for the coconut to mature.
- There are more than 80 varieties of coconut palms
- The origin of the plant is much debated, suggestions including an Indo-Pacific origin and northwestern South America.
- The oldest fossils known of the modern coconut date from the Eocene period from around 37 to 55 million years ago and were found in Australia and India.
Cranberries are a berry fruit from low, creeping shrubs or trailing vines in the subgenus Oxycoccus of the genus Vaccinium.
The bushes with slender, wiry stems and small evergreen leaves grow up to 2 metres long and 5 to 20 centimetres high.
The name cranberry derives from “craneberry”, first named by early European settlers in America who felt the expanding flower, stem, calyx, and petals resembled the neck, head, and bill of a crane.
Dried cranberries are made by partially dehydrating fresh cranberries, a process similar to making grapes into raisins. They are popular in trail mix, salads, and breads, with cereals or eaten on their own.
Currants also known as Corinthian raisins or Zante raisins, are dried berries of small, sweet, seedless grape cultivar ‘Black Corinth’ (Vitis vinifera). The name comes from the Anglo-French phrase “raisins de Corinthe” (raisins of Corinth) and the Ionian island of Zakynthos (Zante), once a major producer and exporter.
The currant is one of the oldest known raisins. The first written record was in 75 AD by Roman naturalist Pliny the Elder, describing it as a ‘tiny, juicy, thick-skinned grape with small bunches’. In the 14th century, they were sold in the English market under the label Reysyns de Corauntz, and the name raisins of Corinth was recorded in the 15th century, after the Greek harbour which was the primary source of export. Gradually, the name became corrupted into currant.
Currants are very small and intensely flavoured. In the UK, currants are used in Christmas cake, Christmas pudding and mincemeat as well as biscuits scones, currant buns. Also available mixed with raisins and sultanas as “mixed dried fruit”.
Dates are the fruit of the Phoenix dactylifera (date palm) which can grow to 20-25 metres high.
Dates have been cultivated for thousands of years – a staple of the Middle East and the Indus Valley (now Pakistan). They are believed to have originated in Iraq as early as 4000 BCE, although archaeological evidence shows date cultivation in eastern Arabia in 6000 BCE. The Ancient Egyptians ate the fruit and made date wine. There is also evidence of date cultivation in Mehrgarh a Neolithic civilization in western Pakistan, around 7000 BCE.
The fruit’s English name comes from the Greek word for “finger,” dáktulos, because of the fruit’s elongated shape
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.