You can find all kind of fruits here, especially on the big markets and stores. I'm not going to talk about them all :) This page's purpose is to show you what locally grown fruits are most popular here and when you have the best chance to find them on sale. They are not sorted in any particular order.
Apples are some of the most popular fruits in the world. Bulgaria makes no exception. We grow apples, we import apples, and we eat apples. The apple trees in Bulgaria give their fruit from the end of June (the Petrovka and other similar varieties) to the late Autumn. Most of the apples you'll find here, most of the time are from some of the popular international varieties like Granny Smith, Red Chief etc. Still, if you look at the open markets you have good chance to find apples grown here most of the time of the year.
Bulgarians sometimes make brandy (rakia) and wine from apples but they are most often eaten raw, sometimes baked.
|Bulgarian pears are available on the market in the autumn to early winter. Most other time of the year all pears are from Argentina, Italy, Greece etc. Even in the season you'll find a lot more pears imported than locally grown. As usual, try to find some on the open markets. You can ask if their pears are Bulgarian. They'll usually tell you that yes, they are. So you may very well not ask too.|
Pears can also be used for making rakia. People also eat them on jams and tutti-frutti, sometimes dried too.
Bulgaria has great traditions in growing plumns and making them into rakia. If you like to try rakia, I recommend you one made of plums - ask for "slivova" like you know what you mean. Surprisingly Bulgarian plums are relatively easy to find in summer and early autumn. Unlike other fruits, plums on the market are mostly locally grown at least in the high season. They are also very popular dried and on various jams.
Cherry and Sour Cherry
Almost all cherries you can buy here in May and June are locally grown. Any other time they'll be imported, if you can find any at all. Huge part of cherries are grown in the region of Kustendil. Cherries are also made in tutti-frutti and jams, cherry pies and what not.
Of course we also make rakia from cherries, what did you think?!
Sour cherries are a lot less popular but you can sometimes find them in summer. They are often made on jams.
Strawberries can be found from late winter but these are not locally grown. In Bulgaria raspberries start riping not earlier than April, in some places even June. Most of the time in late April - early May you'll find Bulgarian ones on the markets. If you go on a mountain walk in May - July you can find some wild strawberries and raspberries. They are small but very tasty.
Strawberries are excellent raw but there is pretty good jams made from them too.
Blueberries do grow here but aren't a popular fruit. You'll find some in markets in the summer and sometimes in big stores. Dried blueberries can be found year round. Your best chance for eating real locally grown blueberries is to go on a mountain trek and find some yourself :)
Persimmons ripe in late autumn and can be found on the market in November and December. They are odd and not very popular fruits but we have some gardens growing them so they aren't hard to find at this time. Oh yes, some make rakia from them too.
Kiwi is a tropical fruit and one doesn't usually expect to see it growing here, but it grows just fine. In the recent years growing kiwis is getting more popular especially in South Bulgaria. Kiwis are typically available from October to April, but most of the time aren't Bulgarian. The chance to buy Greek kiwis is more than 90%.
Medlar is less popular fruit and there's a chance you even don't know it. It's grown mostly in small hobby gardens and is not often found on the markets. Because it's unpopular if you find it sold somewhere you can be almost sure it's grown in Bulgaria.
This fruit should be eaten when it becomes soft and starts to slowly ferment. It's odd and not everyone likes this.
And of course, Bulgarian make rakia from it.
Quinces can be found in late autumn and sometimes during the winter. Again, not very popular fruit and not widely grown. When available, it's mostly local. Quinces are more often eaten on jams and tutti-frutti rather than raw. And Bulgarians make rakia from them too.
Apricots are typical summer fruits available mostly in June - August. Usually come from Greece although they grow perfectly well here except in colder or higher places. For some reason I don't know the period they can be found on the market is usually shorter than for peaches for example. They are eaten raw, made in jams, dried (but most dried you'd buy are Turkish). Rakia? Of course.
Peaches are similar to apricots by their season preferences but somehow more popular and available longer time on the market. Still, this is a summer fruit and is unlikely to be found in December even at a high price. I don't recommend buying it at that time anyway as it would have traveled long time. In the peak season the ones on the market are usually Bulgarian, Greek, or Turkish. Don't ask about making rakia from them - you know the answer. But to be honest, peach rakia is not easily found.
Grapes are a lot more than just fruit. Grapes is used to make wine (and rakia, of course) which gives it a very special status. The grapes season starts somewhere in August and continues to November. A lot of the grapes on the market at this is locally grown, although imported often outcompetes it even then. Grapes can also be dried and made in jams.
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