Dzhugara bread, or ancient grain culture

Dzhugara bread, or ancient grain culture

Turkmen folk tales are popular among readers of all ages. After all, this is a storehouse of folk wisdom and good humor, which not only entertains, but also teaches a lot. Take, for example, the well-known fairy tale “Bread from Dzhugara”.

Its plot is about a poor boy. Going to hard work, he receives a cake from his mother, which, according to the instructions of the parent, can be eaten only when it turns into honey. The hungry guy labors all day without straightening his back, but the bread never turns into honey. Desperate in the night, the guy unfolds a bundle with a dzhugara cake and eats it. After taking a bite, he realizes that the bread tastes sweeter than honey.

And although this fairy tale has been around for many years, bread from Dzhugara is still cooked in Turkmenistan. Another well-known dish included in the menu of Central Asian peoples is “yarma” porridge. Real yarma is made from dzhugara with a little mash. Delicious rich porridge traditionally occupies a proud place at the festive dastarkhan during Novruz and at wedding parties.

Dzhugara is known under different names – “durra”, “gaoliang” or “sorghum”. Translated from Latin, the word “sorgus” means “to rise”. The heat-loving spring crop has been growing in the fields of Central Asia for several thousand years. This grain was prepared by the ancient Oguz tribes. Processing it with the help of hand millstones, the ancestors of the Turkmens received cereals, which were called “yarma”.

The nutritional properties of dzhugara are not inferior to corn. Grain contains carbohydrates, proteins, fats, fiber, useful macronutrients and vitamins. This nutritious grain is recommended for various gastrointestinal ailments. Nutritious jugara porridge tones muscles, stimulates stomach secretion, has a beneficial effect on the higher nervous activity of the body.

Dzhugara has a powerful root system, capable of breaking through the dry layer of soil and penetrating to a depth of more than two meters. An unpretentious and drought-resistant plant, it takes root equally well in sandy and clay soil. It receives moisture from the depths of the soil, and during severe droughts, a protective silicon layer forms in the roots of the Dzhugara, which protects them from drying out.

Modern Turkmen agrarians find perspectives in the development of this grain crop also from an economic point of view. In January of this year, 75 tons of Turkmen Dzhugara were exported from the Dashoguz region to Uzbekistan. Scientific specialists continue to work to improve the cultivation of spring crops. Scientists are breeding high-yielding varieties of sorghum, one of which is “Turkmenistan-8”.

The grain bequeathed by the ancestors, mentioned in the folk tale, today is an authentic symbol of several dishes of the national cuisine.

Selbi CHARYYEVA

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