Everything You Need to Know About Nowruz Nuts (Ajil) and More
Nowruz is the Persian New Year celebrated on the first day of spring, which usually falls on March 21st. This ancient festival has been praised for more than 3,000 years and is deeply rooted in the culture and traditions of Iran and other countries. One of the key components of the Nowruz celebrations is the traditional Nowruz table, also known as Haft-Seen. This table is adorned with various symbolic items that represent different aspects of life, including seven items that start with the Persian letter “sin,” such as “sabzeh” (sprouts), “samanu” (sweet pudding), “senjed” (dried fruit), “sib” (apple), “somaq” (sumac), “serkeh” (vinegar), and “seer” (garlic).
Another essential item on the Nowruz table is nuts. Nuts play a significant role in Nowruz celebrations, as they are believed to bring good luck, prosperity, and abundance. Here’s everything you need to know about Nowruz nuts and more.
Origins of Nowruz
Besides Iran, other countries have celebrated Nowruz for over three thousand years. It has roots in Zoroastrianism, an ancient Persian religion that has existed for around three thousand years. Because of the widespread influence of the ancient Persian empire, millions of people who are not Iranian now celebrate Nowruz as well. Many people in Afghanistan, Azerbaijan, and Uzbekistan observe this holiday.
Role of Nuts in the Life of Iranians
Since Nowruz nuts and fruits are customary New Year’s treats in Iran, domestic consumption spikes during this time of year. Pistachios and nuts like walnuts, almonds, raisins, and hazelnuts are essential to any Iranian celebration. Pistachios and almonds, the two most expensive nuts, are the most popular among Iranians. Depending on the quality and variety of nuts, prices can vary widely. Some have limited availability and higher prices outside their peak production seasons. Iranian pistachios are widely regarded as the best in the world, and the country’s climate is mainly responsible for this.
What are Persian new year Nuts (Ajil)?
Iranians love to serve Ajil (Nowruz nuts) at our get-togethers and celebrations. Include any: almonds, pistachios, cashews, hazelnuts, walnuts, roasted chickpeas, raisins, dried figs, or dried white mulberries. Watermelon and pumpkin seeds, seasoned and toasted, are a typical snack served at parties. Some ingredients, however, may differ from one household to the next, depending on individual preference and availability.
Is the Ajil (a mixture of Persian nuts) a significant part of the Nowruz celebration?
Ajil (Nowruz nuts), a delicious and healthy dish, is often served to guests as Iranians welcome them into their homes for the Nowruz celebration. Take it if you want a full Persian New Year menu. Some raw nuts and dried fruits that go into Ajil are pistachios, almonds, walnuts, and hazelnuts, with some apricots and raisins thrown in for good measure.
The Ajil (Nowruz nuts) usually contains:
· hazelnuts (fandogh) are a popular nut during Nowruz and are believed to bring good luck and happiness. They are often roasted and salted and served as a snack. Hazelnuts are also used in traditional Iranian sweets and desserts, such as “shirini keshmeshi” (raisin cookies) and “shirini nargili” (coconut cookies).
· pistachios (pesteh) are one of the most popular nuts during Nowruz. They are often dyed red or green, symbolizing happiness, health, and good fortune. Pistachios are also used in traditional Iranian sweets and desserts, such as baklava and halva.
· cashews (badam hendi)
· almonds (badam) are another popular nut during Nowruz. They symbolize fertility, abundance, and new beginnings. Almonds are often served roasted and salted or used in traditional Iranian rice dishes, such as “Shirin polo” (sweet rice) and “baghali polo” (rice with fava beans).
· walnuts (gerdoo) are a staple on the Nowruz table, symbolizing strength, resilience, and stability. They are often served in their shells and cracked open by the guests. Walnuts are also used in traditional Iranian sweets, such as “sohan” and “gaz.”
· dried fruit such as raisins (keshmesh) and dried white mulberry (mainly known as toot).
They spent the last days leading up to Nowruz stocking up on nuts (Ajil) and sweets (Shirini) for the celebration. Each Iranian has a preferred ajil forushi (dried food store) where they purchase their New Year’s ajil.
Those living outside Iran might not prepare the exact combination, but you can easily make your own using what is available at the markets. You can blend your favorite toasted unsalted nuts with dried fruits such as cherries, cranberries, raisins, and apricot.
History of new year nuts
Botanists and the public have diverse definitions for the generic term “nuts,” or “Ajil,” as the Persians name it. From a scientific point of view, nuts are just dried fruits that used to contain a grain inside but now have cemented ovary walls. Because of its historical association with Iranian culture, Ajil (Nowruz nuts) is an essential part of many traditional rituals and festivities, including the Persian New Year (Nowrouz), Yalda (the longest night of the year), and Chahar Shanbeh Soori (the festival on the last Wednesday eve of the year). Beyond their historical significance, these nuts are much sought after by people of all ages because of their excellent flavor, which is accompanied by a wealth of health benefits. The Iranian people’s appreciation for Ajil has grown beyond its original festival roots in recent years.
Why do Iranians Buy Nuts for new year?
Inviting friends and family to celebrate the Nowruz is an integral part of the celebration. During the Iranian New Year celebration of Eid-e Nowruz, a few things are standard in every home country besides fruits and Persian tea. Nuts and candy are examples of such items. Nowruz nuts such as pistachios, chickpeas, hazelnuts, cashews, and walnuts are highly prized in Persian society. During Nowruz, if you are in Iran, they will greet you with a plate full of sweets like Gaz, the city’s signature sweet. Just dive into Iranian culture and have fun. We hope you have a wonderful Nowruz, or “Nowruz Mobarak,” as they say in Iran.
Besides being delicious, Nowruz nuts are an excellent source of healthy omega-3 fat and various antioxidants, vitamins, and minerals, including magnesium and vitamin E. As a bonus, they provide abundant nutrients for organisms of all ages and development. Many chronic diseases have preventable risk factors, and some research suggests that eating nuts can help lower those risks.
Iranians will set out nuts in a bowl, on a grazing board, or a platter for their guests, or they may offer them as a fancy appetizer before the Nowruz day lunch or dinner.
Recipe of Ajil (nuts)
· 1 cup almonds
· 1 cup cashews
· 1 cup chickpeas
· 1 cup hazelnuts
· 1/2 cups pistachios
· 1/2 cup raisins
· 1/2 cup walnuts
· 1/2 cup dried white mulberries
· Some dried apricots
· Some dried figs
Blend all ingredients in a large bowl and mix lightly to combine before serving.
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