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What makes falsa, the ubiquitous summer berry, special?

There is so much to this humble berry that goes unnoticed. From providing health benefits to nourishing the skin, the falsa is full of surprises.

more lifestyle Updated: Jun 15, 2018 17:23 IST
Etti Bali
Etti Bali
Hindustan Times
Phalsa,Falsa,Jamun
Falsas can be used to make a number of summer dishes.(iStockphoto)

Come summer and the sight of jamuns and all sorts of berries fill up fruit markets. And among them, the humble phalsa is the ubiquitous, summer favourite. “Falsa is a cool fruit, and keeps the body cool from inside. It is rich in vitamins, minerals and anti-oxidants,” says nutritionist Kavita Devgan.

In addition to its health benefits, falsa is good for the skin, too. “It rejuvenates the skin and helps tissues fight skin problems like acne or mosquito bites. Antioxidants in it help scavenge free radicals, giving the skin a clean look,” says dermatologist, Dr Deepali Bhardwaj. “It can be mixed with sandalwood and lemon juice and applied as face pack,” she adds.

Falsas also work wonders for those suffering from oily skin and open pores during the summer. “It has an astringent effect and helps reduce oil, closing pores. It has also been used to treat eczema. The juice has a cooling effect on heat rash and even prickly heat,” says beauty expert Shahnaz Husain.

Moreover, the fruit has anti-fungal properties that “help control hair and scalp problems, including dandruff. It helps to restore the normal acid-alkaline balance of the skin and scalp,” Husain adds.

Read: Whattey melon! Here’s how you can include watermelon in your everyday life this summer

Fruity treats: some easy falsa recipes

1. Falsa Sherbet: Take 2-3 cupfuls of falsa and soak them in water for a few hours. Make a fine paste. In a pan, heat sugar and water to make a syrup. Add this sugar syrup and black salt to the falsa paste, and top it up with cold water. Garnish with mint leaves. Recipe by Kavita Devgan.

2. Falsa and oat muesli: Make falsa juice with the seeds intact. Mix with hung yoghurt, toasted almonds, oats, maple syrup, and skimmed milk, and serve. Recipe by chef Nishant Choubey.

Phalsa and almond pancake.

3.French Toast with falsa compote: Make compote with 1-1/3 cup falsa juice, 1 cup sliced apples, 1/2 cup each of raisins and sultanas, and 1 stick cinnamon. For the toast, whisk 4 eggs, 1 cup milk and 1tbsp maple syrup. Place 8 bread slices in a shallow dish in a single layer and pour egg mixture over the top, coating the bread. Cook toasts till brown. Serve warm with the compote. Recipe by chef Vaibhav Bhargava.

4. Falsa-Almond Pancake: Combine 210ml semi-skimmed milk and 90ml water. Sift 112gm almond flour, add 100gm pureed falsa, and add 2 egg whites. Make pancake batter. Ladle it onto a hot pan and start making pancakes. Recipe by chef Rahul Kholia.

Health Benefits:

•It is full of magnesium, iron, calcium and potassium

•It is loaded with vitamins A, B1, B2, B3 and C

•It is good for the respiratory system and helps purify blood

•It helps build up the immune system

•It aids in relieving digestive problems like acidity and indigestion

Read: It’s clay time: Add kaolin to your skin-care regime to combat summer woes

Quick Skincare Tips: Beauty expert Shahnaz Husain shares some beauty treatments that use falsa:

1. Soak falsa leaves in hot water for an hour. Make a paste of the leaves and fruit pulp and add multani mitti. Apply on oily and acne-prone skin, avoiding the lips and area around eyes. Wash off when it dries.

2. The fruit pulp and paste of the leaves can be applied on the hair to control dandruff. Leave on for 20 minutes and wash off with plain water.

3. Falsa fruit pack also helps remove tan. Mix the pulp with ground almonds and a pinch of turmeric. Apply on the face for 15 minutes. Then rub gently and wash off with water.

4. Mix the pulp with oats and egg white and apply on the face. After 15 minutes, moisten with water and rub gently on the skin with small circular movements. Wash off with water.

5. Falsa juice can be applied daily on the scalp using cotton wool. Wash off after 15 minutes. It will relieve dandruff and restore the normal balances.

Interact with Etti Bali at @TheBalinian

First Published: Jun 15, 2018 17:22 IST