Tue. Apr 20th, 2021

Special status of Apricot in the Burusho Culture

By Roshan Bano 

Apricot: My medicinal value was not discovered or known but its nutritional value was known and valued!

Apricot: I was neither commercialized nor underutilized. I was organically preserved and stored! Now the story is pretty!

Traditionally there were plenty of other fruit trees that were grown but the special status Apricot Trees and APRICOTs had enjoyed was just unparalleled.

Let have a look at practices that indicate special status given to apricots and apricot trees against rest of the fruits and fruit trees!

Flower Blossoming Celebration is specific to Apricot tree only!

Apricot blossom

Flower blossoming was marked, welcomed and celebrated! The custom of welcoming and celebrating Apricot Tree Blossoming is called “Joan Dokharomay Khani”!

Little girls went to apricot tree orchard, roast whole-wheat under any of the apricot tree. Roasted whole wheat is called khani in Burushaski.

This custom was exclusively and specifically for apricot tree blossoming only. No other fruit tree blossoming was marked and celebrated.

Never for any other fruit tree blossoming: peach tree blossoming (Chokaderay tom dhokharomer), apple tree blossoming (Baltaytom dhokharomer) etc. but only for Apricot Tree Blossoming (Joan Dokharomer)!

Orchard is specific to Apricot trees only.

No other fruit trees are assigned separate land except Apricot Fruit Trees. Orchard is exception to Apricot Trees! This special arrangement, privilege is enjoyed by APRICOT trees only! There were not apple tree orchards, Pea tree orchards, cherry tree orchards etc.

Basi xom jov dosha baan ! Never heard Basi xom chokoder doshabaan, Basi xom baalt doshabaan, etc.

Apricot Tree is given to married women in Heritance

Inheritance and women! A bit difficult to digest for patriarchs; I know.

Moyatisay Zxov ( literally means- Apricot tree of her head J)  when married women are willed an apricot tree in her parental land. Once given to her its fruit, timber etc. are used by her not by her parents. So traditionally there is concept of inheritance to women at least in form of apricot tree!

The question is why this special status?

In my opinion reasons for this special status are: Multi uses of apricots, apricot- derivatives and apricot by- products, growth in abundance and easy and less demanding cultivation and preservation

It’s not only an edible that is part of cuisine but in its various forms its uses go beyond cuisine! Be it unripe, ripen, sundried and preserved form. It has got uses in every form. Few of its uses are- as snacks, as skin moisturizer, as sauce, as fuel, as drink, as concrete material, as paint etc.! Everything related to Apricot and Apricot tree ; Unripen Apricot (juroti in Burushaski )  Apricot Nut(tomai), Apricot Kernel(hani), Apricot Kernel Oil(Zovay Haniye Del), Dry Apricots(goli batering) etc. is of great use and benefit.

Apricots being dried under the sun in Hunza

Let’s try to enlist its uses!  Please share if you know other uses!

Juruti : It’s a fruit – even when not ripen; Joruti are eaten and enjoyed for its savory ,sour taste.

Juuti Maati:The unripe apricot is crushed and transformed into paste called ( Juuti Maati) ! is associated with children. I could not recall any other paste/sauce in Burusho Cusine ! If you know any other sauce share please.

Zxov -the ripen apricots. One of use of Zxov is eaten as fruit just like any other fruit.

Zxov Batering (Sundried apricots) 

zApricots being dried under the sun in HunzaAs apricots are seasonal and one time a year fruits so they need to be preserved for rest of year – to preserve them they are sundried and stored. Once properly suns dried and stored and packed in humidity free and dump free container /space! It’s preserved fresh, crunchy, till next apricot ripening season, even much longer than that; no decomposition, no rotten. Dried apricots are called Baterin, Goli!

Guli: When whole apricot along with nut inside it is sundried the resultant hard crunchy form is called Guli.

Batering (Dried apricot)

Batering: When Apricot is opened and nut is removed from its core and let opened apricot sundried, the resultant hard ,crunchy form is called Batering

Batering Xil & Goliye Xil: dry apricots are soaked in water for hours and the resultant juice is used as drink.

Xhamus: dry apricots are twisted, squeezed in water and the resultant juice is called Xhamus.

Baterchay Dawdho : Soup made of Batering

Bataasin : Vinegar type fermented liquid made of ripen apricots through organic fermentation.

Zoway Paqis Discarded Apricot Pulp which is served to cattle and used in concrete for adhesive and lustrous effects.

Tomai(Broken Apricot nut)  

Used as fuel to keep home warm during harsh and cold winters! thats the best fuel for warmth and heat. Burning gradually, no flames and fumes, no burning voice, only sparks and prolonged warmth and heat!Especially for Garichay horutas.

Apricot Kernel ( Zoway Hani) : one of best dry fruit to be eaten. Kernels are mixed with with batering, goli, khani, tili and enjoyed in winters.

Hani chay berikuch: bread is stuffed with crused kernels and baked and the dish is called Hani chay barikuch

Haniye chamic :

Zxoway Hani Del (Apricot Kernel Oil) : it was used as cooking oil, applying on giyaling etc, making xhamoriki, used hair oil,used for massage, moisturizer for dry skin.

Taking a table spoon of kernel oil a day in winters was as normal as having a glass of soda drinks nowdays.

Mina( Crushed Apricot Kernel Residue)

Kernel mass/ residue left after oil extraction is called mina. Mina was used as lotion for cracks on feet and hands.

Mina is added in Soupy Dish prepared for milking cows ( the soupy dish is called Bowa Dowdu literally means Soup/Stew for Cow ) to keep them warm .

Gifts for in-laws–(Hayan)

Traditionally Apricot Nut, Apricot Kernel, Apricot Kernel Oil, Dry Apricots were given to bride to be taken for her in laws. ( haniye bowri, batering bowri ,tiliye bowri etc)! 

Buton   

Family members living off the home for employment or education were sent the dry apricots, its kernel etc. which is called Buton

Baterinen Botanun , Haniye Botunun etc.

Humol

Dried leaves are called humol and used as fodder for animals in autumn.

And when apricot tree ages it is cut down and used for fuel or timber!

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