Nature has endowed Kashmir with innumerable gifts, its towering snow clad mountains, bubbling streams, transparent and sparkling lakes, flower meadows, colorful orchards and rare fauna have always attracted numerous tourists from all corners of the world. The age-old traditional fruit cultivation has profusely colored the serenity and tranquility of Kashmir’s landscape. Kashmir, the land of fauna, flora and fruits possesses a rich history of fruit cultivation. Years before the time of warrior King ‘Lalita Ditya’ and though the golden periods of benevolent kings like ‘Awantiwaraman’ and Sultan Zain-ul-Abdin ‘Badshah’, Kashmir has remained the symbol of fruits and flowers.
The horticulture industry in Kashmir has become the bulwark of rural economy in the state. This industry earns a revenue of over Rs. 50 crores yearly and provides job facilities to the thousands of people directly and indirectly.
Here are some choicest varieties of Kashmir fruit :
Amri (Ambri Kashmiri)
Lawrence describes it as "the most popular apple in Kashmir ------- a sweet fruit ripening in October and keeping its condition for a long time and finding favour with the natives of India for its sweetness and its handsome appearance" Ambri is indigenous to Kashmir and continues to enjoy superiority by virtue of its crisp, sweet flesh and excellent aroma. The fruit is blushed red, striped, medium-sized and oblong to conical in shape with longer storage life. The fruit matures in the last week of September to first week of October. It is an excellent dessert variety.
American trel (American Apirogue)
This variety has crisp juicy, greenish white and sweet flesh and is usually medium-sized, as a result of which it has become very popular with consumers. Oblate-shaped, blushed and patchy red with a smooth surface, it matures in the last week of September. A good dessert variety.
Delicious (Red Delicious)
A world-renowned variety. It is one of the most widely grown apples. The fruit is tapering in shape with characteristic five lobes at the apex. Skin is smooth, striped and blushed red. Flesh is fine grained, greenish white, sweet, very juicy and crisp with good aroma. Size is medium to large and it matures by the end of September. A good dessert variety.
Maharaji (White Dotted Red)
A large-sized apple with bright red color on a green base with conspicious dots. Flesh is crisp, very juicy, acidic and aromatic. The variety sweetens in storage and in an excellent keeper. The fruit matures in late October. It is also a cooking and dessert variety.
A medium-sized apple with rounds to slightly conical in shape and red to striped skin; white juicy and sweet flesh. It is the earliest variety of apple available from the valley, maturing in mid-July.
Kesri (Cox’s Orange Pippin)
An old English medium-sized apple; it is round to conical in shape with skin orange red deepening to bright red. The flesh is yellow, firm, crisp, tender and very juicy. A dessert apple with good aroma and sub-acidic taste. The fruit matures in mid August.
Nakh Kashmiri (Chinese Sandy Pear)
This variety gets its name from grained flesh. A conical shaped, small to medium sized variety with crisp, white and juicy flesh. The skin is thick and green in color that turns yellow on ripening. Carries well in storage and is an excellent dessert variety.
A widely known English variety. The fruit is large-sized and symmetrical. Skin is yellow with faint blush. The flesh is fine, grained, juicy and sweet. The fruit matures in mid July. A good dessert variety and the choice of canners.
Gilas Double (Bigarreau Napoleon)
This variety is large-sized and attractive with cream-red color. The flesh is firm and juicy but slightly acidic. A good keeper; excellent for canning, and dessert purposes.
Gilas Awal Number (Guigne Pourpera Pecoce)
Medium-sized, light red colored and quite fleshy. The flesh is juicy and sweet with acidic tinge. First to come in the market in May. A good dessert variety.
Gilas Misri (Bigarreau Noir Grossa)
Large sized and red colored; its skin is firm and flesh is sweet and juicy. A good dessert variety.
Kashmir walnuts are popular within the country as well as in foreign markets; a source of substantial foreign exchange. On the basis of shell thickness these are grouped as "Burzil", "Kagzi" and "Wont"; corresponding to "Paper-shelled". Walnut Kernels are used in confectionery, as dessert and for extraction of oil.
Kashmir almonds are known for their superiority of taste and are very popular with the consumers. Like walnuts these are also grouped on the basis of shell thickness as "Papery", "Thin-shelled", and "Thick-shelled". Considered as highly nourishing and of great medicinal value, its kernels are used in confectionery as well as dessert. Its trees are the first blooming fruit trees and an enchanting sight that lends glamour to the spring in Kashmir.
Fruit medium to above medium, pointed, halves accuminate. Skin thick, downy, Yellow base with scattered red patches. Flesh firm, creamy yellow, moderately juicy, sweet with acidic blend when fully ripe. Free stone. The fruit is ready for harvest in 3rd week of August.
Saffron, the golden Condiment has a history of many centuries. It is a condiment medicine, a natural dyestuff. It is an expensive spice in the world used on various functions by adding delicate aroma, pleasing flavor and magnificent yellow color to food. Its color is sharp and peneptating. It is one of the potential foreign exchange earner and is cultivated in Kashmir and extended to Kishtwar. Its harvesting starts from mid of October to end of November.
Fruit medium, from oblong to rather ovate, slightly irregular in shape. Cavity rather deep to medium in depth, regular and acute. Skin yellow when fresh (brown yellow when dried) sweet, moderately flavored, stone free kernel sweet. Ready for picking in the last week of June.
Strawberry is earliest fruit available in Srinagar market during April. Sub-tropical areas in Jammu have potential to grow the crop under irrigated condition. It is valued for easy propagation, early maturity, high yield with 5 to 9 percent sugar. Plants start bearing in second year. Over 2000 varieties of garden strawberry are known with large fruit, weighing 30-70 grams.
Fruit medium, roundish, regular, skin smooth and thin flesh deep red, juicy, sweet and soft full of aroma, stone cling type.