Almonds have been documented as growing in Uzbekistan territory for over 2000 years. In historical times, the almond was rarely cultivated, but harvested from wild growing plants. In the district of Bostanlyk in the northern Tashkent Province, part of the historic Great Silk Road, lie the settlements of Brichmulla and Khumsan. These settlements have long been known for their unique and diverse almond varieties. This area, blocked from cold winds by high mountain ranges but open to moist western winds, contain the ideal growing conditions for many almond varieties.
The Kolkhozny almond variety grows on a tree of medium height, with late flowering and mid-term (end of August) ripening of fruits. A single tree can yield 10-16 kg of large almonds with relatively soft shells. This variety is also drought and frost tolerance.
The almond makes up the intrinsic part of the life of the Brichmulla and Khumsan settlements. Their inhabitants use the almonds to cook and bake sweets as well as for medical purposes. Presently, the almonds are widely used fresh or fried. When mixed with honey, it forms the local dish called “shirilik.” Those living in Brichmulla use old recipes for cooking and produce the almond sweet called “khashtak.” Khashtak means “seven ingredients,” some of which include kuraga (dried apricots), almonds or walnuts, raisins and honey. Khashtak is produced by local people and sold in many markets in Tashkent and throughout Uzbekistan. It is said that a tincture made from wild almond kernels was also used an effective treatment against blackflies.
Today, about 1000 kg of Kolkhozny almonds are harvested annually and sold at local markets. However, because many people in the Bostanlyk region cannot afford coal or gas, wood is harvested for cooking and heating, which sometimes destroys forests and orchards, reducing the growing habitats of almond trees.