Fruits are an important part of our diet. They are a rich source of vitamin C, fiber, certain minerals, and water. India is the second largest producer of fruits in the world. Not surprising as our country is an amalgamation of diverse climatic conditions conducive to the production of a heterogeneous range of fruits. Here is a list of some rare fruits found in India.
Exotic And Rare Fruits Found In India
1. Palmyra Fruit/Nuungu/Ice apple/Munjalu
The Palmyra fruit is encased inside a hard shell. The top part of the fruit needs to be cut off to collect three translucent edible jelly seeds. Though similar to lynches in looks, they are milder and do not have a pit. These fruits are natural coolants and a source of Vitamin A, B, C, Minerals – zinc, Phosphorous, Potassium, Iron.
Eaten: Raw, or made into sweets Jalbhara(West Bengal), the Fibrous outer layer is boiled and roasted for consumption
Grown in: Largely in the southern region of India – Tamil Nadu, Goa, Maharashtra, Kerala, Andhra Pradesh
Home remedy for – Stomach illness, constipation, weight loss (due to high water content), nausea, Heatstroke, Chickenpox.
2. Langsah/ Lotka/Langsat
Among the very rare fruits found in India, Lotkas are shaped like orbs and found commonly in south India. Lotka is a good source of proteins, carbohydrates, vitamins, fiber, Vitamin A, Thiamine, riboflavin.
Grown in: Nilgiris, Eastern parts of south India
Home remedy for: digestive tract problems, dysentery, diarrhea.
3. Buddha’s hand (Fingered Citron)
A part of the lemon family and has tentacle-like extensions and looks like human fingers. Aromatic and zesty, this fruit is found in the northeast. It is one of the exotic and rare fruits found in India.
Eaten: flavoring agent to desserts, savories, beverages; sometimes candied
Home remedy: dry peel of unripe fruit is used in traditional medicine
Grown in: Northeast India
The Starfruit is Green to yellow color when ripe and looks like a star when cut horizontally. It is a rich source of antioxidants, vitamin C, potassium low in salt and sodium. The unripe fruit with a sour taste and waxy exterior is good for pickling.
Eaten: Raw, pickled or salted
Grown in: South India (World’s largest producer)
5. Japania Phal/ Persimmon
It looks like a tomato, is orange colored and luscious! Found commonly in mountainous regions like Himachal Pradesh, Jammu Kashmir, Uttarakhand and Nilgiris. It is a source of manganese, Vitamin A, C and B-Complex vitamins, phosphorous and copper. It is low in calories and fats. However, one should never overeat this fruit.
Home remedy for– healthy skin, antioxidant
6. Ambarella (Indian Hog plum)
This fruit is also called wild mango. It is a source of vitamin C, iron content. Consumption of this fruit helps in the production of collagen. Research shows Ambarella protects against heart diseases.
How it is eaten: in raw form, added to fruit cocktails, unripe ones eaten with salt and chilli powder or pickled
Grown in: Goa, Maharashtra, Kerala, Tamil Nadu and Karnataka
7. Karonda(Carndas Cherry)
Karondas are wild cherries are found the Siwalik hills of north India. This tasty rare fruits found in India, are substituted for cranberries at times. Jams or sweet pickles are made from this pectin-rich cherry.
Eaten: Used in jams and pickles
Grown: Found in Bihar, West Bengal, the Western Ghats, rich in nutrition.
Home remedy: indigestion, constipation, stomach pain, insect repellants
8. Bael (wood apple)
Bael is one of the special rare fruits found in India. Its exterior is wooden, hence called Wooden apple. It has to be prised open to collect the edible sticky pulp. The taste is sweet/sour when ripe and Tart when raw. It tastes good with jaggery which reduces the acidity.
Eaten: raw or dried or as a juice, jam, chutney.
Grown: Tamil Nadu, Kerala, Karnataka, Madhya Pradesh, Himalayas, Karnataka
9. Jungli Jalebi (Kodukapuli) also called Camachile
Camachile looks like a jalebi colored green and pink. Looks like a tamarind pod but is spiral with edible pulp and black seeds.
Eaten – raw, made into juice and seeds are used in vegetable gravies
Found in – Maharashtra, Karnataka, Tamilnadu, Kerala, West Bengal.
Home remedy – for toothaches, hemorrhage, dysentery, ulcer, diarrhea, tuberculosis
10. Chalta (Elephant apple)
As the name suggests, it is a favorite of wild elephants. Chalta grows only in hot humid conditions like swamps. This green-yellow fruit with leather covering is about the size of a grapefruit. It is sweet and acidic and has a Jelly pulp. It is illegal to collect this family of rare fruits found in India.
Eaten: Raw on ripening, Unripe ones used for pickles, chutney.
Grown in: Assam, West Bengal, Bihar, Odisha, Himalayas
11. Chakotra/Batabi Lebu/ Pomelo
Chakotra tastes like a sour grapefruit with floral flavors. It forms a part of cultural celebrations in the Northeastern state of Meghalaya.
Grown in: Northeast, West Bengal, Kerala, Karnataka
Phalsa(Indian Sherbet Berries), Khirni/Rayan(Mimusops), Mangosteen and Yezhanda pazham (Indian jujube) are some of the other tropical, exotic and rare fruits found in India.
Interesting isn’t it? How many have you tried?
Featured Photo by ramnath bhat