Jackfruit Pixabay

Unsung summer heroes…

Growing up in a joint family in a small town has its benefits. Learning the grandmothers’ ways of dealing with the ecosystem is one of them, especially when it comes to the change of seasons. Today we talk about eating local and seasonal. Any punjabi kid who has grown up in a small town with his “biji” (grandma) will tell you that it was a concept drilled in his/her system by the elders of the house.
Another aspect of growing up in a punjabi small town family is the ability to have conversations, especially with street vendors and the uncle at the corner grocery store. Being the designated errand boy of the family you start enjoying these trips to the vendors and they become extended family courtesy the conversations.
These usually revolve around their merchandise and the uses of it and most of the knowledge of produce that I have stems from these memories.
Summer vacations used to be intense because the number of errands increased manifold and so did the conversations around summer produce. Mangoes are undoubtedly the mainstay of all summer conversation but then there are these unsung heroes that bring a lot to your summer table. Let’s talk about few of these today.

Jackfruit – If there’s something a kitchen novice is scared of, it’s jackfruit. While it can be a messy proposition to manage while cutting, Jackfruit is immensely beneficial in summers due to high water and minerals (especially calcium and potassium) content. Eating jackfruit during summer prevents skin damage and also betters our vision. [Here are some Jackfruit recipes to inspire you]

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Bel (wood apple) – Another love or hate me kind of fruit that is usually used raw by us “small town” boys for repairing kites with the natural gum in it!! Bel is a boon for hot summers, it is a coolant and an amazing source of minerals. The ripe bel is the best cure for summer dysentery and heat strokes.

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Singhada (waterchestnut) – Amazing served raw or roasted, water chestnut is any woman’s summer delight. Proved to be extremely beneficial for skin and hair, they provide natural detox and are extremely beneficial in jaundice-like conditions and are a high source of much needed minerals.

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Tadgola (Ice Apple) – Call it Tadgola, Nungu, Tati Nungu or Tal, this fleshy, juicy fruit of the Palm tree is the perfect bite you need on a hot summer afternoon. It’s fascinating to see the vendors slice off the top of the fruit with their sickle with enviable precision. They would know exactly where to slice, how deep to cut to literally ‘flesh’ out the juicy kernels from within.

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Ice Apples are nutrient rich, filled with Vitamins and are a great source of immunity boosters as well.

In an age where local and seasonal is the “in” concept in eating, let’s go back to how our grandmothers dealt with the changing seasons and let’s start conversations with vendors on the sources and benefits of what they sell. It’s nature’s intention to help us deal with the change of seasons and all we need to do is look around and use what’s provided to us. This summer, make these unsung heroes a part of your lifestyle….

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