Chestnuts in high demand in wintry Kashmir

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Srinagar, Nov 11 (ANI): Kashmir produces not only high-end varieties of some fruits like apples, peaches, plum and cherries, but also the finest variety of chestnuts.

The sweet tasting, aromatic cum exotic fruit that grows under the floating leaves and drops off when ripe, can be scooped out using a net while the one that grows on trees is plucked manually.

For the people of Kashmir, the very arrival of chestnuts in the market is an indication that winter is on its way.

"As the winter starts, we also start consuming chestnuts. It has very high nutritional value. It is very rich in carbohydrates. Mineral elements like Sodium, Potassium and Magnesium are present in it in very high quantities. Another thing is that it has low fat content. Just like peanuts are roasted and sold in the market, so are chestnuts," said Manzoor Ahmad, technical officer, Horticulture Department, Kashmir.

The production of chestnuts provides employment to thousands of people in Kashmir. It is very costly and a favourite amongst tourists and locals alike.

"The chestnuts are very costly as it can be found only in Kashmir and no where else. It is very costly, it comes for around Rs 200 per kilogram. The sales are high. It also contains a lot of Vitamin D," said Abdul Rasheed a chestnut grower.

In Kashmir, several roadside vendors sell chestnuts. It is served hot to costumers after being roasted thoroughly.

According Abdul Rahim, another chestnut grower, the collection of chestnuts is far from easy.

"Requirement of hard work on the part of the workers and the low availability of the fruit are the two reasons behind the high prices of chestnut. It is priced at Rs 2000 per carton and each carton contains 22 kilogram," said Rahim.

The fruit is climbing the popularity charts not only in Kashmir but also worldwide because of its high nutritional value, low availability and sweet taste. By Parvez Butt (ANI)

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