This section is from the book "The Gardener's Monthly And Horticulturist V26", by Thomas Meehan. See also: Four-Season Harvest: Organic Vegetables from Your Home Garden All Year Long.
I have copied the enclosed notice of Persian fruits from a recent work on Persia,* by Mr. C. J. Wills, an English surgeon who spent some time in that country and who has given an agreeable and instructive account of his sojourn. It occurs to me that you may like the extracts for the Gardeners' Monthly. Every one knows that many of our best fruits came originally from the East, but the fruits which Mr. Wills mentions have not to the best of my knowledge found their way to this country. We have a minister at the Persian court but I am at a loss to know what he has to do. Why should he not collect roots, cuttings and seeds and send them to the Agricultural Bureau at Washington for distribution?
Page 310: Persia has particularly fine quinces and pomegranates. The latter I have seen of four pounds weight. The Ispahan quinces are sent all over the country, packed in cotton as presents. They give forth a very strong and agreeable perfume which is much delighted in by the natives; and they are passed from hand to hand and savored like a sweet-scented flower. The Attar-beg pomegranates have no perceptible seed and their flavor is very delicious. Their variety is great - sweet, sour, or sour-sweet; they vary, too, from white to almost black in the pulp.
Page 168: These latter (apricots) grow in great perfection in Ispahan; there are seven known kinds, six of which are sweet, and one bitter. The most valued variety is the shukken-para; it is excessively sweet and cloying. All grow to a great size and so great is the plenty that the fruit in an ordinary season is sold for two pence-farthing the fourteen pounds or maund. The orchards where the apricot is grown are generally sown with clover; the trees are never thinned, but notwithstanding this, the finest apricots in the world are certainly produced in Ispahan.
Great quantities of dried fruit are exported from Ispahan, which is celebrated for its "keiri," or dried apricots; these are merely the fallen fruit which is either too much bruised for sale or has not found a market. They are simply placed in the sun, and become in a week dry, hard and semi-transparent, thus forming a very portable food; the stones are of course removed and the fruit becomes as hard as bone; an hour's soaking renders them fit to eat, or when stewed they are delicious, being so very sweet as to require no added sugar.
* "The Land of the Lion and the Sun," by C. J. Wills.
Small melons, called "gerwak" and "tellabi" now (May) make their appearance; these, though far superior to anything produced in England, are not much thought of? The big brown melon or "karbiza" of Gourg-ab which will keep good a year and attains an enormous size, some being seventy and eighty pounds in weight, is more highly prized; the flesh is white and tastes like a Jersey pear. They grow on a soft soil, are heavily manured with pigeon dung and freely irrigated until the plant flowers. Many choice varieties of melon abound, as the "Shah passand " or king's favorite, and others. The " Thridiwana " or water melons are of three kinds, the red fleshed, the yellow fleshed and the white fleshed; these run from three to twenty-eight pounds in weight as an ordinary size; there are long and round descriptions. The skin varies from pale green to almost black with green blotches; the latter are the best.