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Classic Turkish Cooking

By Ghillie Basan

Published 1995

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The sweet cherry, kiraz, is usually enjoyed fresh, while the sour cherry, vişne, is cooked in casseroles, rice dishes and puddings, and is also made into jam and vişne suyu, a refreshing cherry drink. The sweet cherry is believed to stimulate the metabolism - ‘If the mulberry didn’t follow me, I would turn people into my stalk,’ the cherry claims in Turkish lore. Dried cherry stalks have diuretic properties and, when infused in hot water, act as a herbal remedy for high blood pressure. The pale kernels of the black cherry are ground into a fine flour, mahlep, which is used as a flavouring in breads, biscuits and cakes.