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Who can forget the famed Kala-khatta, which is essentially an indian version of fruit sorbet that combines jamun pulp and lemon juice with sugar and black salt.
Now, Jamuns are best eaten chilled, directly with a dash of salt, black salt or chat masala. May, June and July are the peak season months for jamun, just before the monsoons. To pick the best Jamuns, look for the darkest ones you can find. They should be plump and shiny, and oblong rather than round. Look for fruits that are not puckered, preferably with their stalks intact. Jamuns that are lighter are often more astringent.
Not everyone manages to cultivate a taste for jamun. Its unique flavor ranges from a delicious sweetness to a tart sourness, most often with a lingering, astringent aftertaste. In fact, that dry sandpapery mouthfeel comes from the tanins in jamun (also found in red wine and black tea).
Jamuns are a great source of the protective pigment carotene, which helps lower the risk of heart disease and cancer. They are also a good source of vitamin C, which improves immune function; folic acid, responsible for cell regeneration; bone minerals such as calcium and magnesium that also regulate blood pressure; and hydrating electrolytes such as sodium and potassium, which are rapidly lost in hot climates such as ours and need to be replenished quickly to prevent heat stroke.
Jamun is especially well known for its blood sugar-regulating properties. Its seeds contain the glucoside jambolin, which slows down the conversion of starch into sugar, thus helping to balance blood sugar levels. Jamun seeds are used in ayurvedic medicine primarily to manage blood sugar for diabetes. They are usually powdered and mixed into jamun drinks.
The daily consumption of jamuns improves digestion too . Jamun is also used to treat anaemic conditions because it is high in both iron and vitamn C .
Here are a few recipes that can be made using Jamuns .
Beat 2 cups of yogurt until smooth. Add ½ desseded and chopped tomato, ½ deseeded and chopped cucumber, 1 tsp chopped coriander, ½ cup pitted and chopped jamuns, ¼ tsp salt, ½ tsp chaat masala, ¼ tsp red chilli powder, ¼ tsp roasted cumin powder and ¼ tsp castor sugar to the curd. Mix well and serve chilled.
Blend 1 cup pitted jamuns along with 1 tsp salt, ½ tsp black salt, 1 tsp sugar, ½ tsp chaat masala, 3 tbsp lemon juice and 4 cups of crushed ice in a food processor until the mixture appears slush like . Divide into 4 glasses and serve immediately.