Monday, March 9, 2015


When you eat canerik you need to have some salt on a plate for dipping in the erik. That is how it is eaten in Turkey. This brings out the flavor. The green-fruited wild plum Canerik is a very special kind of plum. It is native to Asia Minor that is modern day Turkey. Cultivars are grown in Europe and California.

Canerik belongs to the Rosaceae family. Greengages (Prunus domestica), also known as the Reine Claudes, are a cultivar of the European plum that comes from Canerik. These are a subgenus of Prunus in the genus Prunus of the Rosaceae family. The first greengages produced from canerik in Moissac, France were named Reine Claudes after the consort of King François I and Sir Thomas Gage of Suffolk imported them for the first time from France at the end of the 18th century.

The ones grown in California are called Canerik.

Sometimes the name is spelled as Janerik in the west. In Turkish the name is two words, can and erik. ‘Can’ means life, soul, precious or beloved and ‘erik’ is the word for plum. Phonetically the word could be written as can erik = dʒa:n érik (a more explanatory description of the pronunciation of ‘can’ could be ‘the sound of g as in the word large + the sound of a as in the word arm + n’).

Can erik is mildly sour, juicy, hard and crunchy. If you did not eat it growing up you need to give it time to be able to truly enjoy it. Some Internet sites may describe can erik as unripe plums. This is not entirely true. If left to ripen on the tree, they turn golden and syrupy sweet but they are not favored at this stage.

Can erik flowers in April through May. In the beginning the plums can be the size of hazelnuts and as the season progresses they grow to 3 cm in size. They taste better when they are bigger.


Can erik contains Vitamins A, B1, B2, B3, B6, C and E. It is also rich in potassium and magnesium. Can eriks can be eaten fresh or made into compote, jam or pestil. “Pestil, a Turkish word meaning dried fruit pulp, is best exemplified in the English term "fruit leather." Fruit leather is made from mechanically pulverizing fruit, then spreading it out to dry into a tough, yet flexible and edible material which can be kept preserved for several months in an airtight container” ( Pestil could also be likened to a healthy and much more flavorful form of twizzlers candy of the Hershey Company.

                                                      Can erik                                                     Apricot and mulberry pestil

There are thousands of kinds of plums in the world and 200 kinds grow in Turkey. Can erik is the one awaited by all in the spring. Eating can erik adds life to one’s soul. It is sort of like finding your mojo should you lose it.


  1. Hi Beste - I love greengages - we used to see them around and I'm sure if I looked I'd find them - they now tend to grow in the hedgerows ... so are foraging food mostly. Interesting to learn about these Canerik fruits ... Hilary

    Cheers Hilary

  2. Oh, is that what greengages are? Wonder if I can find some in Geneva? I think I like them!

  3. History tells us that they came from Armenia.