Split pomegranate with spilled arils and arils in bowl
Why Azerbaijan Gives Such High Praise To The Humble Pomegranate
The pomegranate is one of the oldest fruits in the world, originating in the Middle East, and in Azerbaijan, the fruit, known as "nar," is so revered it's their national symbol.
Azerbaijan grows more than 60 varieties of pomegranates, and in 2022 alone, the country produced 187,000 tons, only 15% of which were exported.
The fruit appears in sweet and savory dishes, like jams, sauces, wine, salads, and stews. The regional dish nargovurma serves a fried egg over pomegranate seeds and sautéed onions.
The fruit is considered a symbol of love, passion, fertility, wealth, abundance, and unity. It is used for declaring love and appears at events like New Year's and weddings.
Since 2006, the country has hosted an annual Pomegranate Festival, Nar Bayrami, a two-day event with a "largest pomegranate contest" and a "pomegranate girl" beauty contest.
Aside from food, the pomegranate is a cultural icon that inspires local artists and writers and has played an important role in shaping Azerbaijan's national identity.
Pomegranates have been used in Azerbaijani crafts, visual art, storytelling, myths, textile-dying, and jewelry-making for centuries.