As I noted last summer, we were fortunate enough to have an actual crop of ‘Hunza’ apricots on our 2-year-old tree. When I planted this variety, it was very much a low-expectation experiment. The Hunza comes from the high Himalayan valley of the same name, in Pakistan. Our sea-level and much milder climate would seem a poor match for such a plant.
But it has grown well, and in 2008, following a winter with unusually high chill for us, it actually set a few fruits. As reported previously, their taste is simply amazing!
The Hunza apricot is also justly famous for its tasty kernels. I had almost forgotten than I had put one away for later. Well, later finally came, and fortunately, that shell is an excellent container for sealing in freshness!
Pictured here, on the left, is the last of our finca-grown kernels, along with the shattered remains of the shell. On the right are some Hunza kernels purchased at a local store under the brand Himalayan Harvest.
This was the first time I had compared the taste of our own to the store-bought. Not surprisingly, the home-grown Hunza kernel was fresher tasting (even months from harvest), but it lacked the complexity of flavor of the Himalayan Harvest kernels. Climate and altitude do matter! Sometimes the purchased kernels have an almost amaretto-like flavor profile. Ours tasted more like a very rich and fresh almond; I mean, like the best almond I have ever tasted, but without the amaretto complexity. Here’s hoping we get more of our own in the coming summer, but in the meantime, I’ll be continuing to buy and enjoy the imported ones.