Wednesday, October 24, 2012

All About Karonda in India


Origin of Karonda
Karonda is one of the many berry-like fruits believed to originate near the Himalayas, though some botanists place the fruit’s origin to Java. Its natural range extends from Nepal to Afghanistan and encompasses several parts of northern India throughout that stretch.

Today, the fruit appears throughout the tropical areas of the Indian Ocean, tropical Asia, the Arabian peninsular, and stretches down to parts of Australia. Karondas are also naturalized throughout Africa. A few African countries, including Kenya and Ethiopia, have a rich history of utilizing the fruit for medicinal purposes.


Karonda’s many nom de plumes indicate its ubiquity throughout the world: Num num, nam phrom, and parunkila, to name a few. Despite the fruit’s wide native range, only a few commercial ventures process and sell the fruit.

Availability of Karonda in India
Today, the fruit grows throughout several regions including the Siwalik Hills, Bihar, West Bengal, the Western Ghats, Karnataka and the Nilgiri hills. It thrives in tropical and subtropical regions without heavy rainfall.

The drought-resistant nature of the plant enables the tribal areas of Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan, Gujarat, and Bihar to grow the fruit on a limited scale. In fact, the Bhil tribe in Rajasthan sells karonda leaves for use as rolling tobacco paper to beedi manufacturers. Many of these groups also value the plant for its medicinal qualities. In the Jashpur district, for instance, the tree’s roots kill the worms in the wounds of cattle, and the Munda tribe in Chota Nagpur uses the roots to treat rheumatism.


Fruit harvest is August through October, though unripe fruits get plucked at the start of May through June. More specifically, harvest in the north occurs during the summer months of May through July, and some trees in the south bloom and yield fruit sporadically year-round.



Where to find Karonda in India
Commercial growers of the fruit pledge most, if not all, of their batches to manufacturers interested in selling jam. When in season, they will not appear in large produce stores but may appear in the wicker baskets of small, local vendors.


Several individual homes grow the bush, particularly as a thorny fence to keep out unwanted pests (perhaps neighbors included).

Checking for Ripeness in Karonda
Karonda’s ripeness depends on its purpose. If intended for use as a vegetable, the fruits should be plucked while still under ripe, as apparent by the fruit’s greenish white color.


When fully ripe, the fruit bears no hint of white on its skin. These fruits are selected for canning, preserving and pickling. Some of the fruits turn red when fully ripe; others grow dark purple.




Taste of Karonda
The sweet nectar from the shrub’s flower has better taste than the karonda fruit itself. In its raw state, the fruit is sour and acidic with little sweetness. In its ripest state it becomes a bit sweeter, but only a few varieties become sweet enough to consume out of hand. However, karonda possesses several attributes that make it a highly desirable for culinary applications.


Its close cousin, the Natal plum (Carissa spinarum), is much sweeter and enjoyed by those who try it. Unfortunately, the close resemblance in name, appearance and lineage cause many to mistake karonda for this sweeter version.

Nutritional Value of Karonda
According to an analysis published in the book, “Minor Fruit Crops of India,” C. carandas has the following composition:

91% Moisture
1.1% Protein
2.9% Fat
.6% Minerals
1.5% Fiber
2.9% Carbohydrate
.021% Calcium
.028% Phosphorous

An additional nutritional study published by the National Bureau of Plant Genetic Resources provides the following nutritional information per 100g of edible fruit:

42.5kcal
.39-1.1g Protein (negligible)
2.5-4.63g Fat
.51-2.9g Carbs
.62-1.81g Fiber
21mg Calcium
28mg Phosphorous
1619IU Vitamin A

9-11mg Ascorbic Acid



Health Benefits of Karonda
Karonda has a lengthy history in Indian folk medicine. Tribes in the Western Ghats use the fruit as a blood sugar stabilizer and as a guard against liver damage. As further explained by the National Bureau of Plant Genetic Resources, various groups have utilized the fruit to remedy biliousness, anemia, parasites, worms, fungal infections, diarrhea, microbes, wounds, skin infections, fevers, and ear infections.

Several scientists have studied the fruit as well:
-- A 2007 study published in Ancient Science of Life found that the root bark has potent antihelmitic properties comparable to the drug, albendazole
--A 2009 study published in Der Pharmacia Lettre affirmed the root bark’s hemaprotective properties. In fact, its efficacy is equivalent to the liver drug, silymarin.
--A report in the International Journal of Food Sciences and Technology states karonda’s extracts show potent antimicrobial activity.    
--A 2011 study published in the Journal of Ethnopharmacology shows that karonda root extract has potent wound healing abilities.
--According to another 2011 study published in the Journal of Ethnopharmacology, karonda stem has cytotoxic and pro-apoptotic activities when tested against human leukemia cell lines.
--Another 2011 study published in the Journal of Ethnopharmacology affirms the traditional use among Indian healers of using karonda as a treatment for diabetes: methanol extracts of the fruit showed antidiabetic potential.    

How to Open/Cut:

Karonda has 3 to 4 seeds per fruit requiring removal. Use a paring knife to cut in half and remove the seeds with the tip of the knife. Also, expect plenty of gummy latex from the fruit when boiled: Skim this from the surface periodically while cooking.


Karonda pickle from
valar-myblog.blogspot.in
Storage:

Fruits keep for only three or four days at room temperature, and should instead be stored in the refrigerator. Even in a dry, chilled environment, the fruit will only last a week or so. The fruit, does, however, freeze well. Pack karondas loosely in a large freezer bag, or de-seed and boil in syrup beforehand. 

Karonda Recipe Ideas and Uses:
--Karaunde chutney entails cutting karondas into pieces and removing the small seeds. Place the cut fruit in a food processor with red chilies, coriander leaves, salt and cumin. If a thinner consistency is desired, add water or lemon juice.
--Make pickled karonda by cutting the fruit into small pieces and boiling in water. After 5 minutes, remove the mix and dry. Place the dried fruit in a jar with oil, salt, and masala and store in a cool, dark place.
--Make karonda jam using a standard jam recipe. Karonda requires a 2:1 ratio: 2 cups of sugar for every 1 cup of fruit.
--Substitute karonda in recipes calling for cranberries: the two are similar enough in taste and texture to suffice
--Karonda is India’s equivalent of a maraschino cherry: In West Bengal, manufacturers inject bright red coloring and sweetness in karondas to give the appearance of a cherry. After processing, it’s sold for use in sweet breads and desserts. Most of the “cherries” that appear on desserts in India are, in fact, karondas.
--If sweetened sufficiently in brown sugar, clove, and cinnamon, karondas make an adequate apple substitute for tarts and pies.


Here’s another karonda pickle recipe in Hindi (English subtitles)




Flavor Complements:
Ambarella, cranberry, bignay, jamun, raw mango, amla, cranberry, orange, lime, lemon, Natal plum


Herbs, spices, and oil: tamarind paste, turmeric, chili, garam masala, parsley, fenugreek, asafetida, coriander, lime, mustard seed, garlic, vinegar, salt, curry leaves, white wine, brown sugar, clove, cinnamon, nutmeg, anise

 
Random Facts:
India’s “The Tribune” states that karonda is one of Asia’s 25,000 plant foods that can save a man from death if lost in the wilderness.

Perhaps because of the hedge’s long spines, karonda’s English name is “Christ’s thorn.”

Scientific Name:
Carissa carandas (karonda)
Carissa congesta

Other Names:
Karaunda, jungli karonda (Hindi)
Karvand (Marathi)
Karamdika (Oriya)
Chirukila, sirukilaa, kalakai (Tamil)
Kavali, vakkay (Telegu)
Karakka (Malayalam)

Related Fruits:
Carissa spinarum (garnu)

Carissa macrocarpa (natal plum)






9 comments:

  1. Post with useful stuff! Karonda fruits have many health benefits. Its origin is mainly in Himalayas but it is supplied all over the country through many vegetable suppliers in India.

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  2. How can we grow nursery of Karaunda plants?

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    Replies
    1. BUY THE FRUIT EAT THE FRUIT REMOVE THE SEEDS .PLANT THEM IN 2 FEET SPACE FROM EACH OTHER.TWO LINES CAN EFFECTIVELY MAKE A FENCE AND PROVIDE YOU FRUITS.EVERY PART OF KARONDA PLANT HAS MEDICINAL VALUES

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    2. BUY THE FRUIT EAT THE FRUIT REMOVE THE SEEDS .PLANT THEM IN 2 FEET SPACE FROM EACH OTHER.TWO LINES CAN EFFECTIVELY MAKE A FENCE AND PROVIDE YOU FRUITS.EVERY PART OF KARONDA PLANT HAS MEDICINAL VALUES

      Delete
  3. Really great. I did not know at all. Thank you.

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  4. Is it a hurb ; no ayurvedic property is given it seems as a chemical .

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  5. This comment has been removed by the author.

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  6. This comment has been removed by the author.

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  7. A fruit which can make you delight with its real and delectable taste. Grab it before it's gone, with Rs.60/kg off : offer for limited period, and free shipping. Learn more about plums - http://www.giskaa.com/naturally-ripened-santa-rosa-plums

    ReplyDelete