As Spring rolls around, one of Turks favorite snacks comes into season…or rather pre-season. Almonds are rather easy to find in Ankara year round and they’re always pretty solid. But unripe almonds (in Turkish Çağla) well, they’re only here for the Spring and they disappear, and when I say, unripe almonds, I certainly do mean it.
However, Turks don’t eat the unripe almond alone, no, no, no, they eat the casing that goes around the almond as well, a fuzzy green shell that reminds me of a bean pod.
Street sellers forego their winter staple of chestnuts literally roasting on an open fire for these.
The taste is rather difficult to pinpoint. They taste nothing like a ripe almond or any nut for that matter. They kind of have a vegetable taste, like a bean pod, yet it has some juice to it, as though it were a fruit. The taste kind of reminds me of raw rhubarb (which Turks have never heard of), though not as sour. These are a bit sour, yet there is no overly strong flavor. It’s a texture snack with a fuzzy skin, crunchy outside and juicy core. One of my students recommends them with salt, which does enhance the flavor a bit.
I like them, but eating more than ten in one sitting would give me a stomach ache.