Fruit, nuts and fruit preserves - Bulgaria
Kurtovka apples are a local late-season variety, originating from Kurtovo Konare village in southern central Bulgaria. This variety is quite productive, creating small to medium robust fruits that are well suited for transport and storage until summer. Trees are durable and wind-hardy. They grow up to 10 m tall and 12 m wide. They grow best in warm, lowland areas and are a good pollinator. The trees take approximately nine years to begin producing fruit, and mature trees yield 300 - 400 kg of apples per year. The apples are conical, greenish-yellow to golden-yellow with streaks of red and weighting up to 80 grams each. Locally, the apples are also known as sharlankovi, meaning 'oily,' as the spots and steaks look like oil stains. Kurtovka apples are slightly sour, crisp and not too juicy. 'Tasty as oily Kurtovka' is a local saying. One out of 40 - 50 fruits will have spotted flesh with a particularly desirable flavor. The apples are usually consumed dried, roasted or in preserves or juices. The first recorded data about this variety dates from the beginning of the 1900s. It is believed that it came from a selection of breeding other domesticated and wild apple varieties from the area. Historically, there are records of commercial apple cultivation in Kurtovo Konare dating from the late 1800s. This apple is also displayed on the flag of Kurtovo Konare. Trees of this variety are commonly found in home gardens within the village, and to a lesser extent in the neighboring municipalities of Krichim, Plovdiv and Peshtera. There are limited sales of these apples during an apple festival in Kurtovo Konare, and the fruits are mainly grown for home consumption. Baked Kurtovka apples are a common preparation in which whole seeded apples are stuffed with a mixture of walnuts, cinnamon and sugar or honey. The apples are baked at approximately 200°C until soft. Despite its many qualities, today, this variety is at risk of extinction as more growers shift to cultivating newer strains with a shorter juvenile period. Younger generations are unfamiliar with the particular taste of this variety, and some local gardens are being abandoned or replaced by new rootstock varieties.