Those Lost Fruits

My father has crossed 90 years of his existence on the planet last July. These days, he remembers the good old days very often. 

Papa @ 90

Today while having breakfast, he saw the Indian fruit "ber" (Indian Jujuba) in the fruit basket on the dining table. We usually get nice quality "ber" at this time of the year, just before Shiv Ratri. As he looked at the basket full of seasonal fruits, he asked pointing to "ber" fruit -"what is this?" With age, he seems to forget many things. 😔 When I told him the name, he went back into his childhood days in the city of Karnal in Haryana.  

"There were many orchards of "ber" and we children used to go and climb the trees to eat the fresh fruit. The orchard owners never told us to go but encouraged us to take some fruits for the siblings."

He was fondly remembering those days. There was another type of small red coloured berry, called -

झड़बेरी - झाड़ी के बेर. The colour, taste and the addiction! 

झड़बेरी  के बेर - लाल लाल !

They were my favourites. Wow, I can feel the sweet and sour red jhadberi ber in my mouth. The seed occupies most of the space with a very small quantity of pulp. But the taste of the pulp was addictive.

"Fresh & Local Fruits Khayega India tabhi to Swasth Banega India." 

Then he suddenly asked "Loquat milta hai kya aajkal? "


I have also eaten this fruit in my childhood. But have not seen it in decades now. I do not think my children have eaten it more than twice or thrice whenever I could find them from that "special fruit wale bhaiya" who used to get all things uncommon. There is always one or two vendors in the local sabzi and fruit market, who used to keep ornamental and rare veggies or fruits. And my three years old granddaughter has never seen yet as of now. 

As papa was reminiscing about his old days I got lost in the khatta meetha taste of loquat. It is eaten with the peel, which is tarty / khatta in taste while the pulp used to be sweeter. I am not so fond of only sweet fruits. I love the sweet and sour taste. 

Photo by Candace Mathers on Unsplash
Today was the day about old fruit talk. Papa went back to mulberry memories. He did not remember the name but pointed out that the silkworm loves it. In Hindi, it is called शहतूत.  It comes in two colours - green and maroonish. Soft and sweet and looked like a caterpillar but nonetheless tasted great.

After papa's fruit talk has set the ball rolling. Now it is my turn to think about the fruits which I used to love and have not eaten for a long time. 

Kamrakh  from Wikipedia

Have you heard of कमरख? Also known as start fruit or Carambola? This is also very rarely seen these days. Eaten with salt, this tarty fruit was enough to add spice to life!

Raw Tamarind from Wikipedia
Another memory of raw tamarind  is knocking on the door of my school time memories. Eating the raw green tamarind and ripe brown tamarind all rolled up in salt and powdered sugar was nothing less than being exported to divine!  Most of the schools have these sellers standing out of the school gate. There was no fear of being kidnapped or the killer drugs being sold with these fun snacks. Ahh.. those were the days! 

You can try the taste of that khatti-mitthi imli (sour-sweet tamarind) by taking a small quantity of seedless tamarind, available from any kirana shop or get home-delivered through amazon or BigBasket etc. Add salt to taste, some powdered sugar, black salt and bhuna jeera. Enjoy!

Jamun - Fresh and Juicy.
I would like to add two more fruits to these about to extinct or rarely found fruits - Jamun and phaalse. Though these are available once in a while, one can have them at least once or twice a year even now. 

Do you also miss any fruit(s) which you have eaten in your childhood and now you do not see them in local markets? Please do share in the comments.

Let us eat local and support our local economy.