Seasonal Food in Turkey – Çağla

Spring has been slowly appearing on Fethiye and Çalış market in the form of seasonal fruit and veg but this week’s Tuesday market in Fethiye was just a joy. Most of the springtime produce was in evidence and in abundance. We loved it because a new season has started and it was visible. So, what delights does Spring throw upon us on the markets of Fethiye?

Çağla – Unripe Almonds

Well, the first fruit we want to write about is çağla and we’re curious: is it only Turkish people who eat these things? I remember being given one during our first Spring in Fethiye and I just thought it was bizarre when I was told what it was. Çağla is an unripe almond. As you can see from the photo, they are about the size of a big grape and they’re green and furry. When you bite into them, they taste – well, they taste unripe. It’s a tarty, green crunchy centre with a slight citrus kick. Don’t go expecting a nut or else you’ll be disappointed. The almond is yet to mature.

Çağla - Unripe Almonds

Çağla for sale at the local market

If they’re good quality çağla (Üzümlü is usually credited with good quality çağla production if I remember rightly) they’re not unpleasant to eat. I’m not sure if they’re used for anything else apart from something to nibble on. We were eating them on Sunday at the Üzümlü mushroom festival. Buy a bag and eat them like sweets. It probably isn’t wise to eat too many in one shift – maybe stomach gripes later – but to eat a few is to feel like spring is definitely upon us and the weather in Fethiye is warming up.

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  1. green almonds! I eat them off a tree bordering our yard, refreshing if picked early enough, but the season here has already passed

  2. I actually know green almonds from Frankfurt (my measuring stick for all things Turkish, as it is quite a hub for Turkish immigrants)- at first I was a bit sceptical, but they are quite moreish, aren’t they? Another fruit I was introduced to there, was very very small green apples, probably picked when the fruit is just forming. Bit hard, bit sour.. but so nice to discover things one didn’t know before!

  3. What about.. green plums?! A couple of years ago, I lived on the bottom floor of my apartment building with a lovely plum tree in front of my window. One day, I see three children climbing in the branches that could barely hold them. There was that awful creaking sound just before calamity strikes. I shooed them away by asking them (in a very light-hearted way, if they were monkeys). The next day, I looked out and saw two women in overcoats and headscarves climbing up that same poor tree. Eventually the building manager had to come along and cut the tree down. He was afraid some poor person would break their neck.

  4. Ahh, I was hoping you might comment Sarah then I could see if eating unripe almonds was common in other countries of this corner of the world.

    Margit, these things are most definitely loved by every Turkish person I know. Maybe the Turks of Germany have to get them imported?

    And to Margit and Nomad, it’s next month in Fethiye before we see those things on the market. I’ll be doing a post on them as soon as I can get a photo. I love Spring!

  5. What about mulberry?? It’s the right time of the season to eat some white and red mulberries. yummy! They are my favorite. Because when i was 5, my carer has two mulberry trees in her garden. She never let anyone to eat them in the spring but me. I ‘alone’ climbed the trees i wanted and ate them feeling like i was in heaven =))

  6. I dont say it because my name is CAGLA but they are incredibly delicious yes!

  7. @ Kuday: Loved that story, thank you. Yes, we love the mulberry too – either colour. We’ve never bought them because we just pull them from the trees around here. 🙂

    @ Çağla: Ha ha. We’re looking forward to this time of year again. A reminder that warmer weather is upon us. 🙂

  8. I am finally glad to have found out what these were that I ate for dinner. The waitress told me they are fruit but no! They were cooked in a dish for dinner with other recognizable vegetables and a sauce. The dish itself was fine but I Can’t say I liked the çağla.

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