Bael Fruit or Wood Apple! It was unknown until it wasn’t.
The fruit vendor kept persuading me to buy what looked like a distant cousin of coconut that I’d never seen nor known before. He was persistent and I was apprehensive. Fortunately my househelp happened to be there and she gave a convincing description followed by her childhood memories and I came home with it.
When ripe, it gives a peculiar sweet aroma, an indication that the fruit is ripe.
Its exterior’s a stone-hard shell. Break it into two or dig a hole on the top and one can scoop out the lush brown, exceedingly sour and little sweet flesh.
Pound a couple of green chilies with salt and mustard oil and spoon it in. Mix it all up in the shell itself and there you have an amazing rustic dish you’ll fall in love with.
Wood Apple is a native of the Indian Subcontinent, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka and Nepal. In the Indian state of West Bengal, the fruit is a famous and favorite delicacy .
The tree has a religious significance in the Hindu religion. Its leaves, because of their Trident-like shape are believed to be loved by Lord Shiva and are used as an offering during the holy rituals.
Bael fruits are rich in Vitamin C and are therefore a powerhouse of Antioxidants.
Loaded with dietary fibres, potassium, iron and minerals, they’re used as an antidote to diarrhoea, cholera, scurvy, skin and hair problems and even cancer.
They aid digestion, blood purification and promote heart and respiratory health.
If you bump into this bulbous fruit anywhere in the market, do get it home. You’ll be amazed at the wonderfulness you’ve been oblivious to until now…
Today’s Mahashivratri! And on a day of such auspiciousness, I have this fruit, a favorite of Lord Shiva, that I’d never known of before. Serendipity or coincidence?!
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