With borders connecting the country to Afghanistan, Pakistan and Turkmenistan in the east, Armenia and Azerbaijan in the west, Russia and Kazakhstan across the Caspian Sea in the North, and the Gulf countries across Persian Gulf and Gulf of Oman to the south, it is no wonder that Iran is the home of many temperate zones and climates – ranging from arid deserts to snowy mountains and subtropical coastlines. And with such varying climates, it is also no wonder that Iran boasts a great variety of fruits. In fact, the country ranks first among the fruit producing countries in the Middle East, and eighth among the fruit producing countries in the world.
Iran is perhaps most famous for its pomegranates. And if you spend even just a couple of hours in Tehran, you will understand why. Iran is the number one world producer of pomegranates, and the fruit has practically been incorporated into the culture of the country. Besides plenty of mouthwatering dishes that include the fruit (such as the pomegranate stew fasenjan) and eating the fruit “plain” as dessert, Iran also produces plenty of decorations inspired by the fruit. Pomegranate vases, pomegranate street art, and tablecloths and rugs with pomegranate inspired patterns. There is no stopping the Iranian love for the anaar.
And of course, the pomegranates fill up fruit stands everywhere.
Tangerines are another popular fruit. Often shaped and colored like a lime, the Iranian narangi may be deceiving for a western eye, but are far more juicy and flavorful than tangerines from any other country. The tangerine is eaten “plain” as dessert and are sometimes included in stews (such as khoresht narangi). And when I ate grilled fish in the Caspian Sea port city Bandar Anzali, the fish came served not with lemon, but with a slice of tangerine.
Other Iranian produced fruits include several kinds of melons (watermelon being the most popular), kiwi fruits, apples, persimmons, cherries, raisins, peaches, dates and various citrus fruits. And let’s not forget the Iranian nut treasures: the pistachios and Persian walnuts.
All photos taken by me on an iPhone.