When I first moved here and Umut’s mom came to visit, she had explained that traditionally house wives in Turkey know how to make traditional Turkish cuisine dishes, and make them often.

I really got to see this firsthand when I went to visit Umut’s family in Bartin. His aunt’s garden alone was impressive, abundant in: cucumber, tomato, pomegranate, squash, fig, pear, grape (and grape leaves), corn and apples.

And yes, she uses all of those crops and often. Unlike in the States, as long as the weather is good she doesn’t have any creatures to ruin her crops. There are no hungry deer or rabbits, just the local wandering cats and dogs.




Not only did his aunt make börek, baklava and sarma for the bayram but for breakfast she had homemade rose hip and fig jam on the table, everything was absolutely delicious.

I took a photo of part of her homemade stash outside. It includes:
– Grape Leaves (for making sarma/stuffed grape leaves)
– Cornelian Cherry Jam (Kizilcik Reçeli)
– Cornelian Cherry Compote (Kizilcik Komposto)*
– Rose Hip Jam (Kuşburnu Reçeli)
– Rose Hip Juice (Kuşburnu Meyve Suyu)
– Tomato Paste (Domates Salçası)
– Strawberry Jam (Çilek reçeli)
– Fig Jam (Incir reçeli)
– Pickled Peppers and Vegetables

During the summer she’s busy preparing these jars and items to last throughout the year. The rose hip and cornelian cherries are picked by the nearby mountains and are sold at the local bazaar. She paid 5 TL for 1 kilo.

Through conversations, I explained that these two fruits are something I had no knowledge of prior to moving to Turkey. I found out that rose hip, since it is rich in Vitamin C, was made into a syrup and given to people to drink in England during WWII to prevent scurvy. I also found out that cornelian cherries are a herbal remedy for diarrhea.

*Komposto is a sweet drink made from fruit simmered with water and sugar. It’s a common drink found in Turkey and is often used as a soda substitution.