Ivanovka sunflower oil
This is a traditional product of Ivanovka, a village of Molokans who rejected conformity and were forced to leave Russia in the 19th century.
The oil-making plant in Ivanovka was founded in 1920, at a time when the Molokan artels (cooperatives) functioned (the equipment was brought back in 1897). Since that time, oil has become the hallmark of the village and the collective farm.
During Soviet times, the peredovik sunflower variety, which has pale seeds with white stripes, was cultivated; recently, a variety called maslyanka (“oily”) has become more common.
Sunflower seeds are harvested in October with a combine and then scattered in a storage area where a tractor with a special wooden comb turns them over. The seeds are then brought to the mill. Once the husk is removed, the seeds are crushed into dough that passes through 200-kg granite millstones and a press to separate the oil from the “cake”; the leftover solids are fed to cows to give their milk a deeper taste and greater fat content. The oil is brownish in color, dense, and has a very distinct aroma.
Sunflower oil from Ivanovka is famous all over Azerbaijan and is in demand both for cooking and for medicinal purposes. Unfortunately, as demand rises, so does the quantity of counterfeit product: Ivanovka oil is cut with normal refined sunflower oil and sold as Ivanovka oil at lower prices.
Ivanovka sunflower oil is mainly used for seasoning salads seasoning and is also very good in baking (it goes into the local bread). The dish that many locals remember from childhood is local bread (made with flour milled from a mixture of wheat varieties grown in the collective farm fields and processed in a watermill) with sunflower oil and chopped white garlic.