Have you ever enjoyed picking dropped mangoes and bel (wood apple) after a thunderstorm? The eager wait for the storm to stop while listening to the sound of the mangoes and bel as they hit the ground… it’s a childhood excitement. As soon as the storm and rain subsided, the rush and happiness to collect the nature’s gifts knew no bounds. A bucket full or handful did not matter, but the race to collect more than anyone or before anyone, would require no reward to feel on cloud nine.
Growing in a city with houses growing vertically than horizontally, there’s barely any chance to have fruit trees around to enjoy these moments. Alas ! my son would never know these simple joy that we enjoyed in an era of minimal television and no smart gadgets at all. Perhaps it goes same for us as well. We missed a lot of things that our parents enjoyed in their childhood. It is supposed to be that way from every generation to the next. That’s truth and reality and progress.
But I try to take back my son to my childhood. In the same place, doing almost the same things and hoping that he might enjoy it too.
Wood apples are considered very nutritious and healthy for the stomach. It’s health benefits are well discussed and can be read on the Internet. The funky smell of wood apples make it more attractive and tempting. But the challenging part of this fruit is not it’s hard shell but de-seeding it :). Filled with a thick pulp and many small seeds, it takes patience to sieve the seed out.
Bel-er sharbat or bael ka sharbat is a common summer drink in the eastern part of India. It regulated the body heat and keeps the stomach healthy. We grew up having a sweet version of the sharbat made with milk and sugar. But a salty alternative, most common in Bihar, also taste great.
What you need:
- 1 wood apple (serves 2)
- Half teaspoon salt
- 2 tbspn sugar
- pinch of roasted cumin powder
- pinch of black salt
- Water – 2 glass
How to make
- De-seeding the pulp requires patience. Break open the wood apple and scoop out the orange pulp in a big bowl
- Dilute it with water
- Sieve the seeds and course pulps out using a clean cloth, big strainer or running your fingers
- Once you have removed all the seeds, add all the ingredients and mix
- Serve cold for the refreshing taste