Dwiddly

My notes and musings …

Seasonal sweet & sour somethings

with 2 comments

We discovered cranberries when we lived in Minnesota a decade ago. We were searching for local alternatives to tamarind – the traditional go to for adding a tangy/sour taste to a good many recipes in Indian cuisine. An adventurous aunt who had lived a few decades in that part of the world told us that there is nothing better than cranberries to make good చారు, a sweet & sour rasam that isn’t too spicy. And living in the Twin Cities, we were lucky enough to have cranberry farms in nearby Wisconsin and then when we moved to Toronto, it was the Bala cranberries.

After the harvesters have done their job at a cranberry farm near a town called Bala in Ontario, Canada.

After the harvesters have done their job at a cranberry farm near a town called Bala in Ontario, Canada.

The cranberry farms would organize these cranberry festivals during harvest season and show case the whole process of harvesting and processing cranberries. Though most of the harvest happened through mechanical harvesters, the farms offered people an opportunity to walk through their flooded marshes to harvest these air pocket filled small fruits that float up waiting to be picked. But the thought of having to dry off in the cool fall breeze and that of driving back 3 hours after that didn’t let us venture into those thigh-high gum boots.

As the leaves turned colour and fell, every year since that realization in 2005 (or was it 2004?), we would indulge ourselves by working cranberries in to various recipes – ಗೊಜ್ಜು, ತೊಕ್ಕು, chutney, చారు, పప్పు, jam, spicy bread spread, pasta sauce, etc. From the second season we started making cranberry sauce and chutney to preserve them for the rest of the year … other than stocking up on the berries themselves in the freezer.

Kokum ready to be harvested. PC: Savita/Uday, Buda Folklore

Kokum ready to be harvested. PC: Savita/Uday, Buda Folklore

Since moving back to Bengaluru in 2011, and working consciously to increase the diversity of our nutritional sources, we had discovered kokum and were using it on and off. Last year when we were introduced to Savita of Buda Folklore and learnt that there was a chance to go pick kokum from the trees on their (and their neighbors’) farm in Angadi Bayal, near Kumta in Uttara Canara, we were quite excited. Unfortunately, we couldn’t work it into our calendars last year and we decided to give it top priority on this summer’s plan.

I am so glad that we did go to AB. We had such a great time ! We collected/picked/harvested the fruits, cleaned and segregated them, cut them up to make sundried fruits, sugar steeped preserves, jaggery sweetened jams, and spicy lip smacking chutneys. And while these were probably the driest and warmest days of the year at AB, the open air shower, the sprinkler cooled afternoons, candle and lantern lit evenings and dinners more than made up for the weather. Oh! the thick tree cover with a mango tree here and a kokum tree there in full fruiting glory are sights we will remember for a few months … till we come across the next seasonal fruit that we shall harvest and relish !! 🙂

Advertisements

Written by Dwiji

Wednesday, May 25th, 2016 at 20:06

2 Responses

Subscribe to comments with RSS.

  1. Cocum trees r lovely to look at too. Last year we tried some cocum wine!! Cocum is used widely in coastal belt especially goa. We konkani’s use it a lot especially in the form of sol kaDi when we have rich food ( fasts weddings etc) and during summer. It reduces pitta in the body
    🙂
    malathi

    Like

    charuaditi

    Thursday, May 26th, 2016 at 10:37

    • true ! I have heard of (and tasted) Kokum/Cocum in quite a few dishes of different cuisines from the Konkan & Marathwada areas. And yes, apparently cocum helps in metabolising fat from rich foods and in reducing fat accumulation within the body.

      Like

      Dwiji

      Thursday, May 26th, 2016 at 10:43


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: