We here in Lebanon are extremely lucky each year to have such large varieties and quantities of produce grown in our own backyards, organically. And, with the summer season soon approaching, the warmer weather brings a plethora of healthy tasty fresh fruits to enjoy on your balcony or at the beach. Here are our top five recommendations of summer fruits:
#1 Watermelon (Batikh Ahmar)
This juicy red fruit is a symbol of the season, and is sure to grace all the Lebanese restaurants and homes this summer. Because of its high water content, it's the perfect way to cool off from the heat by keeping it cut up in the fridge.
#2 Loquats (Akidineh)
This unique and brightly-colored fruit, also known as "Japanese plum," isn't typically found in many other places around the world. However, you can be sure that this healthy sweet treat will be served during the summer months in Lebanon.
#3 Cherries (Karaz)
These red pearls of sweetness, primarily from the Bekaa Valley, are a favorite of many Lebanese. They can be found in many markets, big and small, across the country and offer a slightly tart yet rich flavor.
#4 Pomegranate (Remmen)
It's Persephone's downfall and the jeweled fruit that decorates a variety of Lebanese dishes, from its red rubies in your fattoush salad to your makanek in the form of the super-healthy pomegranate molasses. We are very fortunate here in Lebanon to have this fruit grow so readily, as it is an expensive commodity in many other countries.
#5 Figs (Tin)
This sweet velvety fruit, which is actually an inverted flower, is native to the Middle East. You can even observe wild figs growing just about everywhere--on the side of the road, on your hike in the mountains, on your neighbor's backyards, and so on. It can be enjoyed as-is and it also goes great as a preserve or jam with a nice plate of cheese.
With such a bounty available to us all year round, we Lebanese are really fortunate to enjoy nature's untampered sweetness, in the summer months especially.
So next time you're packing for the beach or heading up to the mountain this summer, remember to take some of Lebanon's natural desserts with you to savor and enjoy.