Flower Harvesting in Spring by Nazy
Every spring our family harvests the Staphylea Colchica flowers (Jonjoli in Georgian) from its trees on our farm, which we prepare as a marinade and eat throughout the year. In fact across the Pankisi Valley you can find many families doing the same. Families that don’t grow these trees go to the nearby forests and collect them from there.
The beautiful white flowers blossom in April and produces an orange scent which fragrances the air across the valley. It is also a time which brings the family and neighbours together, and everyone has an enjoyable time picking the flowers. We hear many interesting and funny stories told by our elders about their childhood. This is a wonderful opportunity for young and old to share quality time and have fun together.
On our farm we have 25 mature trees. They grow up to about 3 metres tall. They are small and rounded but look beautiful when the flowers are in blossom. We planted the trees about 20 years ago when I was a young child and have been harvesting them for about 15 years. From these trees we are able to collect about 30 kilograms of flowers. It takes about 3 days to pick by hand and we often work in pairs. In the photograph you can see my sister Tao and Mother working away. We sell about 10 kilograms at the market in Telavi for 4 Lari per kilogram if there is surplus.
Mainly the women do the work but men help also. It is good outdoor exercise for us and everyone feels tired but happy at the end of the day. For collecting we wear aprons with a deep pouch at the front to put the flowers into. After washing the flowers in cold water they are laid out to dry in the sun. We add salt and compact them into large glass jars or special wooden containers. They are stored in a cool place for 2 weeks and then they are ready. To eat the flowers we add olive oil and onions. They have a slightly sour taste and can be eaten on their own or with corn bread and cheese.
The Staphylea Colchica (Colchis Bladdernut) is a small tree belonging to the Staphyleaceae family. It is native to Georgia. Its name is derived from the western Georgian kingdom of Colchis. It is a rapidly growing deciduous species and grows best in well-drained and partly shaded locations. It has low drought tolerance. The tree is used for hedge lining.
Nazy's Guest House
Republic of Georgia