Sun-dried organic apricot Juice is known as chamus in Hunza. It is one of the common drink in Hunza homes in Fall season till the start of summer because in summer the fresh fruit is prefered then the dried one.
Juicing dried apricot in Hunza:
Traditionally Organic apricot Juice is made following these simple three steps:
- Wash the dreid apricots
- soak them in water for few hours.
- Rub the soaked organic apricot between the palms of hands.
The modern version of organic apricot Juice is soaking them overnight and then simply blending it in an electric blender.
Traditional Practice of drying apricot in Hunza:
Apricot is acknowledged for its health benefits. Especially the organic Hunza sun-dried apricot known as Battering locally, its kernel and oil has anti-cancer properties and people of Hunza are known for longevity (age up to 150 years) and no cancer cases.
Traditionally, the women of Hunza pick fresh a well ripped apricot from the trees and cut open apricot fruit by hands and dry them on circular frames on the roof of houses in the sun.
The apricot kernel is separated and are dried in the sun which is later used for making apricot oil, grounded to make flour and used for several traditional dishes that includes hani’e chamik, Chamuriki, Giyaling and Bairikuch while the hard shell of seed was stored and used in winter for making fire that last longs for hours and keeps the traditional room called “Ha” warm.
Dried apricot uses in Hunza Cuisine:
- The dried apricot is used to traditional drink known as Chamus (the apricot juice).
- They are used to make soup locally known as battering dawdo. Sun-dried apricot has the same flavor as original taste of the fruit. There colour is always brown and it is usual to find dust on them.
- Dried apricot is use as snack in Hunza with dried roasted apricot kernels.
- It is a common practice to soak the apricot overnight and eat with the spoon in the morning. It helps relieve the constipation problem.
Changes in traditional Practice of drying apricot in Hunza:
Earlier, the apricot was dried for self-use at homes of Hunza and they were dried in the sun. Now the traditional method of drying apricot has changed. The apricots are processed before drying to increase the yield and meet commercial standards. These process also affects the color, taste and texture of the product. The real taste that was sweet is now a bit tangy and the brown color has changed to more yellowish.The hard texture of sun dried apricot has changed to a softer texture. The storage has shifted from cotton bags to plastic bags.
The new method of drying apricot includes, passing the cut opened apricots on the races to Sulphur fumes for few minutes, which prevents them from insect invasion which results in more product yield and increased shelf life.
Difference between traditionally dried and dried with Sulphur:
There are two kinds of Hunza dried apricots
- In the above picture yellowish color dried apricot are processed dried apricots.
- The dark color apricot are natural, unprocessed and are dried in the sun. The processed apricot juice can’t have the same result as the sun-dried organic apricot juice.