Azerbaijan’s trademark is pomegranates and the whole world is aware of it because 98% of produce of the AZNAR Factory goes for export. Today, we are going to visit the two largest canning factories in Azerbaijan, namely AZNAR (Grante) and Gabalinsky Canning Factory (Jale).
The history of Azerbaijan is inseparably linked to the culture of pomegranate cultivation. Traditionally, pomegranates have been cultivated in almost every region of Azerbaijan. The pomegranates growing in the Geokchai District are most often used for juice production.
Geokchai pomegranates have won an international recognition and became a synonym of “true Azerbaijani pomegranates”. The secret of this magnificent taste and guaranteed quality is a unique area microclimate and soil composition, which is not seen anywhere else in the world.
They need 3 kg of pomegranates to make one liter of pomegranate juice. AZNAR produces both bottled juice (up to 15,000 bottles of juice daily) and concentrated juice in aseptic containers to deliver to the customer.
They export their juice to the USA, Canada, Germany and Australia. Juice prices vary from $5 to $7 depending on the country.
The AZNAR Factory, an effective modern manufacturing facility, includes the following technological elements:
– Three lines processing raw materials featuring a total output of 20 tons per hour, and groups of equipment for juice processing and ultra-filtration.
– Juice processing and storage line.
– Ascending film evaporator for juice concentrating.
– Line of aseptic filling of concentrated juice in large tare of Aseptic Bags type.
– Two bottling, pasteurization and packing lines.
– Equipment kit for tannin extract production.
– Cooling chambers for concentrated juice (1,100 m2 total).
– Jam and confiture production sector.
The factory accepts only whole, intact pomegranates grown in the Bygyr area, which get sorted on a conveyor manually.
Air-operated membranous presses are used for juice extraction at moderate mode (from mild-pressed seeds), not screw extruders (juice extraction through seeds re-pulping) typically used at other factories.
A closed-circuit process scheme with a minimum air contact prevents any oxidation processes.
The product is subjected to an exclusively mild high temperature treatment with pasteurizers applied (up to 100 °C), a tunnel type is used instead of sterilizers (over 100 °C).
After pasteurization, fresh juice is stored in 50 m3 stainless steel aseptic containers (3,750 tons of one-time storage), unlike all other factories where various conserving agents are added for juice storage in serial containers.
Interesting facts and legends about pomegranates:
From ancient times, in the East, the pomegranate has been considered to be the king of all fruits. Even in the outlook, it stands out among other fruits with a bright-red crown on the top. The legend says that originally it was a sepal that prompted a crown form.
According to the Koran, pomegranate trees grow in a perfect paradise garden. Many people consider flowers and pomegranates to be a symbol of wealth, abundance and fertility.
Pomegranate icons are found in the Egyptian pyramids, on the ancient Byzantium tissues, in ornaments of ancient Greeks and Arabs. Pharaohs highly appreciated fresh pomegranate juice, admiring its miraculous property to strengthen both their body and spirit. Ancient Egyptians were buried with pomegranates in hope of their revival. Ancient Egyptians and Assyrians often depicted pomegranates in their sculptures as a sacred tree, or “life tree”.
Italians believe that Eve was seduced with a pomegranate in the Garden of Eden. The King Cyrus, founder of the Persian Empire, wished to have as many good generals, as many seeds are in the pomegranate. Later, Prophet Mohammed reasoned his followers into eating pomegranates saying that it sanctified of envy and hatred.
In the Greek mythology, pomegranates were a favorite meal of Gods, making many to believe that their use resulted in immortality. Hades has offered a seed of this fruit to the Goddess of agriculture, Persephone. Fallen to temptation of this ruby fruit similar to a jewel, she took it and by that has doomed herself to staying several months a year in the underground kingdom of Hades.
Ancient Greeks believed that the first pomegranate tree was cultivated on the Island of Cyprus by the Goddess of love – Aphrodite. Since then, pomegranate juice has got a reputation of a “love potion”. Following the tradition, modern Greeks break a pomegranate fruit during wedding ceremonies as a fertility symbol.
In China, they eat sweet pomegranate seeds on the day of wedding, thereby blessing a newly-married couple. A picture of a ripe pomegranate is a popular wedding gift.
For a long time, pomegranates have been used in folk-medicine in the Middle East, Iran and India. Healers use edible seeds and cortex, leaves, aril and crust of the fruit to treat a lot of diseases, from eye-sore to haemorrhoids.
Gabalinsky Canning Factory produces Jale and Zolotoy Sad pomegranate juices.
The company processes up to 70,000 tons of pomegranates a year to produce about 120,000 tons of pomegranate juice and nectar.
Gabalinsky Canning Factory produces:
– Fruit juices and nectars;
– Fruit purees and concentrates;
– Canned fruits.
The factory produces 26 kinds of fruit juice. They use glass bottles and Tetra Pak tare for their juices, nectars and concentrates.
This is an apple juice and concentrate production line.
They freeze and store some part of their concentrates for their future production needs. The other part goes for export.
Orange juice bottling.
This is a production of juices in Tetra Pak packing.
Its tasting room.
We still want to remind you that the best juice is the one you have squeezed by yourself!
Health in every drop!