Guest Author - Rachel Schaus
ًFruit leather is found throughout the Middle East. The warm climate and fertile soil (it is called the Fertile Crescent, afterall), make it a wonderful place to grow and dry fruit, especially in the form of fruit leather, or Lavashak as it is known.
In Iran, sour fruit leathers are very popular. The base fruit is usually sour plums, but other tart fruit flavors are available (sour cherry, barberry, pomegranate, and more). For the homemade version, the fruit is cooked with just a splash of water, pushed through a strainer to get the stones out, cooked a bit longer to thicken with a healthy pinch of salt, and spread on some plastic sheets and dried in the sun (well, ideally). As long as its nice and dried, it'll last a very long time in the fridge. Ah, it's good stuff!
If you like apricots, you'll love Malatya, the apricot capital of Turkey. is very famous with its apricot. I cannot tell you how delicious they are and what a beautiful smell they have, you should experience it. When I was a child, this fruit leather is our candy. Wow, you brought back a lot of memories.
Malatya's farmers produce huge harvests of excellent apricots and cherries which, fresh or dried, are shipped throughout the world. The city, on the north side of Nemrut Dağı, is a base for visiting the mountain (although some prefer the south approach from Kahta).
There has been a town here for at least 3000 years, known in Hittite times as Milidia, in Roman times as Melitene, today as Malatya (mah-LAHT-yah,
The Malatya region is best known for its apricot orchards. About 50% of the fresh apricot production and 95% of the dried apricot production in Turkey, the world's leading apricot producer, is provided by Malatya and the name of the fruit is synonymous with the city.
After having been brought from its homeland in Eastern Armenia, it reached its most delicious and sophisticated form in the fertile soil of Malatya in Western Armenia, nourished from the alluvial soil of the Euphrates. Overall, about 10-15% of the worldwide crop of fresh apricots, and about 65-80% of the worldwide production of dried apricots comes out of Malatya. Malatya apricots are often sun-dried by family-run orchards using traditional methods, before they are collected and shipped throughout the world.
In some parts of the Middle East (Syria & Lebanon), apricot fruit leather is soaked in warm water and left overnight to rehydrate, then passed into a fine sieve, the resulting liquid is chilled and served as a rich beverage garnished with pine nuts and almonds during months of fasting.