The onset of summer season marks the appearance of local fruit in various markets across the state, reports Bhiva P Parab
Fruits form part of a healthy diet and are good source of vitamins and minerals. Getting to eat local and wild fruits is all the more healthier because it is fresh and virtually free of chemical pesticides. Come summer and seasonal summer fruits are making it to the various markets of the state.
The state has favourable climatic conditions, good soil and rich ecological factors for fruits. And so along with regular fruits, a number of wild fruits are also found in the markets these days. The demand for the wild fruits is good and the seasonal business is brisk by Goan vendors.
“The price of the wild fruits varies according to the fruit variety, quality and size. It also depends on the quantity available and the demand. We get good rate for the fruits,” said a vendor, adding, “some people especially ask for the wild fruits which are found in interior hilly areas. Residents like to eat the seasonal fruits and there could be varied reasons for buying them. However in the city markets the fruits are little costlier than the local village markets as there is also transportation cost which adds to the price.”
If during this season one makes a around in the village and nearby jungles, various delicious fruits can be found waiting to be plucked and eaten. For some villagers the months between March and May are for collection of various fruits which are grown in wild like ‘Churna’, ‘Karangana’, ‘Jambala’ (Jamun), ‘Phatarfala’, apart from ‘Jaam’, jackfruits, cashews and mangoes. Villagers collect the wild fruits and sell it directly in the markets or they sell it to the regular vendors who sell their products in the various markets of the state.
The wild fruits and local seasonal fruits give good business to the locals and also vendors in the small and big markets during this season. Usually in the local village markets or on the roadsides the vendors can be seen selling the ‘Churna’ and ‘Karangana’, types of local berries in cones made of leaves, which is an eco-friendly way to package the products.
A cone of Churna and Karangana is priced at Rs 10 per packet, however the price differs from place to place and in market like Mapusa or Panaji the same quantity of these fruits may be priced at Rs 20.
According to the information available from a vendor, Goa is blessed with good natural cover and is a habitat of several fruits and among the various fruits which that are found in the wild during the summer season, one of the much loved fruit by the young and the old alike from the wild is the Churna. This fruit is white in colour when ripe and tastes sweet, but while plucking it one has to remain cautious as the Churna tree has thorns all over.
It may be also noted that the ‘Churna’ is the main attraction at the Rama Navami festival in some villages as the festival is celebrated during this time of the year. Residents buy the fruits because they taste sweet and hold special attraction to children attending the festival. The fruiting period of Churna is around March and they are found sometimes till first few days of May also and since the fruit is small and handy it can be eaten even on the move and are collected in a bamboo basket or bags. The ‘Churna’ are found especially on the hilly region in bunches on thorny branches of the tree and once collected they sell it in the local markets or sometimes to the vendors. However selling directly in the markets give the locals more money than selling it to the vendors.
Then there is another wild fruit called Karangana or Kanna which is found in the similar habitat where the ‘Churna’ are found, and also its fruiting period is summer season, however, the Karangana is little bigger in size and when raw can be eaten by applying salt to add taste. From the raw Karangana which are green in colour, pickle is also prepared by some locals. It may be noted that two small flat seeds are embedded in the pulp. However the ripe Karangana is sweet, fleshy and delicious to eat.
The summer in the state is harsh due to the scorching heat, however it is also a time for a variety of delicious fruits. Apart from the above mentioned fruits various other fruits are found locally which include the Bhirana (Kokam) and Phanas (Jackfruit). Price of the jackfruit differs according to the variety and size and normally the rasal variety of the jackfruit is priced less than the kapo variety of jackfruit. The big kapo jackfruit price goes beyond Rs 500 in the city markets, while the same sized jackfruit in the village markets may be priced around Rs 300. Normally there is good demand for kapo jackfruit in the state.
The Bhirana a fruit of culinary, pharmaceutical, and industrial uses is used by the locals to prepare a refreshing drink known as solkaddi. The outer cover of the fruit is dried in the sun and used as a substitute for tamarind in curries and other dishes. Its products have a good demand in the market. The jackfruit which is enormous and prickly on the outside when cracked open is full of fleshy parts (bulbs). Ripened jackfruits are eaten directly and it is also seen that jackfruit seeds are boiled and eaten.
There is also another fruit which is known as Jaam which is a green or dark pink colour fruit and is generally priced 10 individual fruits for Rs 20 to 30 and this fruit is hollow inside having just a thin layer that you eat, however, it provides the much-needed hydration to take on the summer heat.
There are more fruits which are available in the summer in the state and these summer delicacies could be enjoyed in the state at a reasonable price and are available in the various markets of the state. It may be noted that there are more popular fruits, mango and cashew found in summer which needs hardly any introduction. The wet or raw cashew are locally called Bibbe and one has to buy it by pieces and they are generally priced at Rs 300 per hundred pieces in the markets and they can be used in the preparation of curry.