Walnut - the bread of the future
Human thought, science is all about business. Her attention to food items is quite natural. Oddly enough, but about 120 years ago, now normal sugar was a rarity, and it was possible to fill its deficiency only with honey and fruits.
Cane sugar was a rare, almost inaccessible delicacy, and the little-known sugar beet culture in those years took only the first steps. At the same time, sunflower was gaining heroic strength. About 200 years ago, a plant native to faraway Chile, potato, began its victorious campaign in Europe. And now this is our second bread! But it turns out that the indefatigable creative thought of man has long been beating against the problem of the third bread - the bread of the future. In one of the conversations, Ivan Vladimirovich Michurin said that this bread will be nuts.
But what kind of nut were we talking about? After all, there are a great many of them: walnut water and earth, black and gray, Manchu and Kalmyk, coconut and almond, cedar and beech, chekalkin and Siebold, magic and false. In a word, it’s even difficult to list everything.
However, if you talk about this with foresters from Carpathian or Moldavia, they will certainly say that Michurin had in mind just their nut: Voloshsky, or Greek. And to object to him is not easy. Already at the first acquaintance with the Voloshsky nut, or walnut, you can easily make sure that this plant has no price. It is long-lasting, and reaches the size of a huge tree, and bears fruit abundantly, and has no equal in the quality of wood, and its leaves have many valuable properties. And its fruits are beyond praise, not without reason they are jokingly called a small food factory. Who doesn’t know their great taste? By caloric value and digestibility by the human body, they are not inferior to many products of animal origin: they contain up to 75 percent of high-calorie fat and about 20 percent of protein.
Walnut trees live 400-500 years, and often up to 1000-2000 years. For more than ten centuries, a mighty giant walnut has been standing in the Georgian village of Martkobi, near Tbilisi.
Almost every year, 200-300, or even 500 kilograms of nuts are harvested from one adult walnut tree. Five such trees can produce as much oil as a whole hectare of sunflower. And what kind of oil! Only 20-25 nuts are enough to satisfy a person’s daily need for fats and almost a sixth part - for proteins.
This means that a single walnut tree can provide the calorie needs of the human body for a whole year. In addition, nuts contain carbohydrates, tannins and minerals, essential oils necessary for normal nutrition. Finally, they are extremely rich in vitamins. By the content of vitamin C alone, walnuts are 8 times higher than black currants and 50 times higher than the fruits of citrus plants. One ton of its nuts is enough to provide a daily vitamin C rate for 300 thousand people, that is, the population of a big city. The shell of one unripe nut contains a two-day norm of this vitamin for an adult. In addition, in walnuts - a whole set of other vitamins: groups B, P, carotene, as well as volatile. And many of these substances accumulate both in the nut kernel and in its shell, leaves.
B vitamins contribute to the decomposition in the human body of pyruvic acid, which accumulates in the muscles and causes fatigue. Therefore, Georgian churchkhels - sausages, which are nut kernels boiled in grape juice, have long been valued in the Caucasus. This non-bulky product is well preserved and perfectly restores vivacity, it is not for nothing that they have long been supplied to Caucasian soldiers, and now it is included in the diet of astronauts and athletes who are losing a lot of energy. Nuts are used now and in the best cakes, in a variety of sweets, halva, ice cream, nut cream and many other very useful products. Walnut oil is highly nutritious and tastes good. According to the ancient Greek historian Herodotus, the priests of ancient Babylon forbade ordinary people to eat these nuts, considering them to be very beneficial for human mental activity.
However, as they say, man does not live by bread alone. The outstanding creations of the great artists of the last century are preserved thanks to the valuable property of peanut butter, which not only gives them extraordinary transparency, clarity and depth, but also protects the paint from destruction.
Wonderful walnut, or Voloshsky, nut! But as it is now established, it is neither Greek nor Voloshsky. Its true homeland is the mountains of Central Asia, where even now it occupies vast spaces. It was from these forests that his wanderings began in bales of trade caravans, and even in the sewing bags of the Tatar-Mongol horde, which set off to conquer new worlds.
It is believed that in Russia he appeared about 1000 years ago, having got here already from Greece along the ancient trade route “from the Varangians to the Greeks”. From here comes its name "Greek".
This nut was called Voloshsky because of its intensive culture in Wallachia. Under this name, tradable goods were brought from there to bidding in Kiev and other cities of Kievan Rus. The earliest centers of its cultivation on our land can be considered the first bastions of Christianity of Kievan Rus - the Vydubetsk and Mezhegorsky monasteries located on the way "from the Varangians to the Greeks" along the Dnieper above and below Kiev. The gardening monks of these monasteries grew walnuts with special zeal and not without success. Even now, here you can meet a lot of trees, most of which, according to all indications, as foresters say, have resumed undergrowth from the stumps of old, outdated walnut trees. It is interesting that many of them are characterized by a wide variety of nut fruits, which vary in size, shape, shell thickness, and edibility of the edible kernel.
Such a variety of walnuts can be observed only in the Caucasus, where it has been cultivated for several millennia, or in its ancient homeland, in the mountains of southern Kyrgyzstan, where huge walnut forests occupy about 50 thousand hectares.
Praising the fruits of the walnut, we, in fact, did not say anything about their original purpose. It goes without saying that nuts should give birth to a new generation of trees, but will they fulfill this function when they are dressed in hard, almost armored shells? On the back side, at the junction of the walnut flaps, you can find, using, for example, the edge of a knife, a window specially provided by nature; if it weren’t for him, a weak germ could not break through strong clothes.
Nuts sown in the fall in the soil at a depth of about 10 centimeters (it is advisable to put them on the edge), in the spring grow together. In nature, not every nut sprouts, since suitable conditions are not always created for this. And besides, in addition to man, there are already a lot of hunters for him. Losing to many tree species in the intensity of natural reproduction, walnuts sometimes amaze even experienced foresters with their vitality and unpretentiousness.
Bulgarian forestry scientist Ivan Groev showed me in the city of Razgrad a nut grove grown on the roof of an old Turkish bath built in the 16th century. For many years, a thick layer of dust has settled on a shallow tiled roof, which, as a result of constant heating and moisture, has turned into an excellent substrate. In this fertile environment fell the fruits of an old tree standing nearby. In recent years, the nut forest on the roof itself began to produce the first harvests of nut fruits. Its trees, having firmly established themselves on the high roof, reached through the numerous cracks of the decrepit building to the real firmament, forming from the roots a unique living reinforcement that restrains the very trees and their base - the building from further destruction.
One cannot fail to say about a certain effeminacy of walnuts: in principle, he is a southerner and is afraid of our northern frosts. Soviet scientists F. L. Schepotiev, A. M. Ozol, A. S. Yablokov and others persistently fought against this shortcoming. Thanks to their labors, walnuts now take root in the north of Ukraine, in the Moscow Region and even in the Baltic states.
The tricuspid fruit-nut enjoys special honor among the people. In ancient times, he was considered a talisman, bringing wealth and fertility.
The distant similarity of the walnut kernel to the human brain was then the subject of many curiosities. So, for example, it was widely believed that nuts are thinking creatures and can move like animals. Even the ancient Greek philosopher Plato, in his Dialogues on Atlantis, quite seriously wrote that walnuts escaped from pickers, crawling on weak legs from branch to branch. One of the first explorers of the East, Sven Gedin, said that in remote areas of the Gobi Desert, nuts torn from a tree in an unripe state squeak and cry.
- S. I. Ivchenko. The book is about trees. 1973