Thanks to all kinds of artificial production, we can have strawberries, tomatoes and aubergines all year long, but there are still a few precious fruits left that cannot be grown out of season. Two of these, erik and çağla, are unmistakably signs of spring, and the day you spot them in green grocers is definitely a good day.
Erik (conveniently sounds like eric) is Turkish for sour green plums. They have begun to appear in grocers but are too small and sour – not to mention expensive – at the moment. In a week or so, they’re going to reach their full, crunchy deliciousness (writing this alone is mouth watering!) and a month later – definitely before we’ve had enough – will go soft, leaving us with a looong wait before we can eat them again… Very well-liked in Turkey although foreign to many countries, it’s also – probably – the only fruit with almost 500,000 followers on Facebook.
Çağla (pronounced cha-la) have been around a little longer than erik, but they’re also very sour right now. They’re a very unripe form of almonds or apricots and have even a shorter availability period than erik. You can find street vendors with pushing carts all around the city selling these wrapped in newspapers, especially in school districts. It’s a real treat to buy some right after school and eat them on your way home – you know you’d better rinse them first, but you don’t really care.
It should also be mentioned that they both go really well with a little bit of salt. And that they’re both very good companions to rakı. Oh yes they are.