Sunday, October 17News That Matters

Drying of vegetables begins in Kashmir for long winter ahead

BUDGAM: With farmers having started the harvest in their paddy fields, and fruit growers picking apples from the trees in their orchards, the women in Kashmir’s villages have also started the traditional process of drying vegetables for the winters.
I various villages of Budgam district, women can be seen drying vegetables in the sun. Kashmir Reader talked to some of the women, who said that from the month of May every year they start cultivating vegetables in their gardens, through which they earn an income through the summer and towards the end of autumn, ready dried vegetables for winter sales and consumption.
“Most of these vegetables which have to be cut into various shapes for drying are for use during the winters. They are useful when rates of vegetables coming from outside the region become too high in the local markets,” the women said.
Zeba Begum, an elderly woman, told Kashmir Reader that when she was only 10 years of age, her mother taught her how to dry vegetables at home for use in winters.
“After I got married, I also started this traditional process at my home. Now my daughters and sons have got married. But they are also continuing this traditional practice at their homes,” Begum said.
She said that the people in the old times were fully dependent on home dried vegetables in winters. “The people especially in the villages could not afford to buy vegetables from markets during the winters. That is why this traditional practice has been passed from generation to generation,” she said.
“Now even in these modern times, people are doing this traditional practice as people are aware of the health benefits of the dried vegetables, especially in winters,” she said.
Begum said that dried vegetables are good remedy for winter ills like cold, flu, sore throat, and cough.
Amina Bano, another woman who dries vegetables for the winter, said that the dried vegetables also help earn livelihood for farmers in the fallow season.
“During winters the farmers do not have any work in agricultural fields. All the activities are fully completed by the month of November here. After that, the farmers just sit idle at their homes but they still have to feed their families. Dried vegetables come handy then,” she said.
Bano said that from the month of December when the day and night temperatures go down too low, people prefer to start eating dried vegetables. They also prepare different kinds of dishes using the vegetables which are prepared in advance in the months of September and October.

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