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Jamun: A small, yet powerful fruit

Power-packed with nutrients, this seed-sized fruit will surprise you when it comes to its health benefits.

more lifestyle Updated: Jun 15, 2019 11:53 IST
Anjali Shetty
Anjali Shetty
Hindustan Times
Jamun,Black Plums,Plums
Jambolan plum or jambhul or jamun fruit, Java plum (Syzygium cumini). (iStock)

Black plums or jamuns, not only make for delicious desserts and side dishes, but also contain several medicinal properties. The seed of jamun can be powdered and consumed by people with diabetes.

Jamun can also be used in desserts such as compotes, mousses and panna cottas. Manish Khanna, owner of a Mumbai-based restaurant, says, “Jamun pulp can be used to make coolers and mocktails. Vinegar cider as well as wine can also be made by fermenting the fruit. Jamun juice can be used to make squashes, syrups and also ice cream. In fact, I have even experimented with jamuns to make jelly.”

Jamuns come with a long list of health benefits. Gouri Gupta, founder of a Mumbai-based food store, says, “Jamuns are packed with antioxidants. They serve as an excellent option to manage and maintain sugar levels.”

From salads to jams, this fruit is a win-win for chefs and homemakers. Chef Sabyasachi Gorai, says, “Best way to use jamuns is in pickles or jams because of its amazingly rich colour and texture.”

Health Benefits

An excellent remedy for diabetes, jamun is also an effective solution for throat infections and helps in purifying blood. Executive chef Ashvini Kumar, says, “Jamun is a low-calorie fruit, which makes it a healthy snack. It is also known to be effective in treatment of diabetes.”

Celebrity chef Vicky Ratnani adds that it is rich in iron and is a natural blood purifier. It is rich in vitamin A and C and keeps one’s skin healthy, fresh and acne-free. He says, “Jamun juice is good for improving memory and treating diseases like anaemia, and respiratory disorders such as asthma. It is also good for teeth and gums.”

Chef Mohsin Sheikh, says, “Jamun has many health benefits. The main ones are protecting against heart related diseases and improving immunity. They are also very good for your stomach and aid in good bowel movement.”

Jamun has strong astringent like properties, which make your skin healthy. Chef Liton Bakta, says, “It helps strengthen the gums. It also helps fight infection and increase immunity, especially in the monsoon season.”

Special Memories

Jamuns are usually a quintessential part of one’s childhood. Memories date back to playing with other kids, betting on who gets a more ‘purple’ tongue. Even though jamuns might have scared us with its dark colour as kids, the delight to just shake some jamuns with rock salt was an uncontrollable craving.

Gupta adds, “As kids, we mixed ber (Indian jujube) and jamuns in a glass, adding some salt, and then relished eating them outdoors. Fondly calling it a ‘shake shake’ drink, we relished this fruit to the maximum, also because parents never had a problem with kids eating this fruit. As kids, one could devour only a handful of jamuns and then go back it to the next day.” Jamuns have a unique flavour and have to be handled carefully.

Jamuns are a powerhouse of nutrients. The peak season for the fruit starts in May and goes through till July. Srinivas R Kamath, owner of a food brand, says, “It is very popular during this time of the year. The taste is a combination of fruity tang with a tart aftertaste. To make it more favourable to the taste buds, it’s best to consume it in the form of ice cream during summertime.”

Panna Cotta with Jamun and Black Salt Compote Recipe

Ingredients

250ml milk, 250ml cream, 50gm, 1 tsp vanilla extract, 10gm gelatin processed in 30ml water (can use vegetarian gelatin too, same quantity)

For compote

250gm jamun, 45gm sugar, 1 tsp black salt, 50ml water

Method

Heat milk, cream and sugar with vanilla extract till the sugar dissolves. Process the gelatin and water, and heat till it dissolves. Add it to the milk mix. Pour it into individual dishes or one big dish and refrigerate it, preferably overnight or for at least four hours. One can unmould and serve it, or just serve it in the same container or glass. Allow it to set in without unmoulding it. Top it with the jamun compote.

Compote: Deseed and chop the jamun. Put it in a pan with sugar and water and start cooking. Once it’s thick and bubbling, remove it from the heat. Add the rock salt. Mix and keep till cool, top the panna cotta and serve.

- By Manish Khanna, restaurateur

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First Published: Jun 15, 2019 11:44 IST