Jungle Fruits You Must Enjoy this Summer While Travelling Through Rural India
Tags: Best Seasonal Fruits, Best Summer Fruits, Fruit Picking Activity, Jungle Fruits in India, Karvanda, Offbeat Food Experience, Raspberry, Seasonal Wild Fruits, Village Experience in India, Wild Fruit in India
Come summer and the Indian forests are abundant with the seasonal bounty of juicy, succulent fruits that provide a cooling respite from the unforgiving weather. Delicious fruits like Jamun, Amla (Indian Gooseberry) and Wood Apple (Bel) that were an integral part of our fond childhood memories are hard to spot nowadays in the concrete jungles that we call home. From the tangy Tamarinds (imli) to the delicious Jhar-Beri (Chanya Manya Bor), it’s hard to come by these fruits in the urban markets.
Only if you are lucky, you would be able to find some local ladies selling these flavorsome goodies on the pavements of a busy street. However, if you truly want to relive the pleasure of plucking these fruits from the shrubs, then a visit to a Rural Farm or an Agritourism Center is your best bet.
Indian villages and farms are home to these forgotten species of seasonal wild fruits ranging from the acidic Star Gooseberry to the sugary sweet Jam-fruit. Here are some of the jungle fruits to look forward to on your next Farmstay, for an offbeat food experience.
1. Karonda (Karvanda)
Karonda is an Indian species of Cranberry that is easily recognisable due to its characteristic white and red to dark purple exteriors. It is tangy and hard when raw but turns juicy and enjoyably tart at its ripest. Karonda even called as ‘dongrachi kali maina’ or the bird of the mountains, Provides for the perfect detox post binge eating. It is also known for its medicinal benefits and is hailed as a natural cure for digestive problems and skin issues. The raw fruit, when consumed with some black salt, is a tangy treat for summers that has a cooling effect. It is also the key ingredient of a variety of pickles and chutneys, both sweet and sour. Karonda shrubs are ubiquitous in rural India; therefore, a trip to a local farm offers the rare opportunity to fill up large baskets with this native fruit.
2. Star Fruit (Carambola)
Star Fruit has a waxy yellow texture on the outside and ridge-like protrusions that give the slices a star like shape. Raw consumption of this fruit is not meant for the faint-hearted because it is extremely sour with a very subtle sweet undertone. This fruit is rich in Vitamin C and hence is a powerful antioxidant. The waxy skin is a great source of fiber whereas the juicy interiors are rich in minerals. The juice of this fruit can be added to drinks for a citrusy flavor while the fruit can be pickled to create an accompaniment for meals. It is one of those rare Farmstay fruits that are difficult to obtain in the cosmopolitan cities.
The Indian Raspberry is aptly known as Rasbhari in the local dialect, which translates to extremely juicy. This yellow and sometimes red colored berry is full of sweet nectar that can be enjoyed as is or can be converted into a refreshing drink. The tiny round fruit is a great immunity booster as well as a potent cure for liver issues. The distinct aroma of these succulent berries will draw you towards the Raspberry plants that are laden with the syrupy sweet fruit. These berries are best consumed fresh, straight from the plant, which is possible only at an Agritourism Center. Raspberries are not grown commercially in India, which makes this fruit a foraged summer treat.
Targola is the fruit of an indigenous variety of palm trees that is native to the western parts of India. The fruit grows in clusters and has a brown exterior that encloses a translucent jelly-like pulp. It acts as a natural coolant and prevents dehydration and fatigue caused by the heat waves peculiar to the summer months. You may find some vendors in the city selling this fruit in small stalls, but it gets hardened while transportation and loses its freshness. To experience the tenderness of Targola in all its glory, it is recommended to consume the freshly plucked fruit. It is one of the many countryside fruits in India that is both delicious and healthy.