‘Kuntale Hannu’ or Wild Indian Java Plum Juice & A Little About Local Berries…

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16.11.12

{Due to a recent virus attack I lost a whole bunch of recipe on my blog. I am slowly working on posting them back one by one. I am going to start with the recipes I am getting most requests for. If you remember/want to try one of my earlier recipes which is now not in this blog please write to be at chinmayie.bhat@gmail.com and i’ll try to post it as soon as possible. I am basically just going to re-post the recipe as it was. So some of the content might not be so relevant today but my intention is to get them all back  and I  have over 80 posts to re-blog. Thank you! }

 

'Kuntale Hannu' or Wild Indian Java Plum Juice

 

Childhood memories are a beautiful thing. It’s amazing how we are capable of forgetting what happened last week but will remember what we did when we were 4 years old! All of us have our own little stories from our childhood. Most of my memories are associated with food of course. For the longest time of my life I didn’t really know how food had a special place in my memories. Only when I look back now I realize that food was always my first love!

 

'Kuntale Hannu' or Wild Indian Java Plum Juice

 

Of course I strive hard to create such food memories for my daughter :) We all hold on to our past and try out best to re-live those with our children, don’t we? I keep dreaming about how my daughter is going to remember my cooking when she is 30! Will she remember that her mother baked fresh bread and made homemade peanut butter for her because that’s her favorite thing to eat, made hot dosas and idles very morning for breakfast, colorful popsicles with variety of fresh fruit juices in summer? Will she remember how we went berry picking when she was 3? How her little hands were full of juicy ripe orange berries…. how her tongue turned purple after eating the sweet black berries…

 

saroli hannu

 

saroli hannu

 

I don’t know if she will remember but I will never forget all these little details. Her excitement of picking wild fruits off the shrubs, reaction to the astringent sour taste of the berries and of course getting bitten by the mosquitoes while she was busy enjoying the fruits!

 

'Kuntale Hannu' or Wild Indian Java Plum

 

Last week when we were at my parents place, on a cool monsoon evening we went berry picking. Local wild berries are always very special. Most of these fruits have no english names. We picked some ‘Saroli hannu’ and ‘Kuntale/kuntaala hannu’ (Hannu for fruit in Kannada). Saroli hannu is a orange transparent fruit with a very strange sweet & sour taste. It’s bitter even when it’s slightly underripe. Perfectly ripe fruits are juicy and tasty. They grow in little clusters on the branches and are loved by all local birds and squirrels. I wish I could share more information on these lovely fruits but I searched about them all day long on internet and found absolutely nothing! Some of these wild fruits are completely forgotten by most of us and not even documented!

After having our fill of these delicious saroli fruits we moved on to ‘Kuntale Hannu’.

 

'Kuntale Hannu' or Wild Indian Java Plum

 

Kuntale hannu or kuntala hannu is another berry which is a little more popular than Saroli Hannu. They grow abundantly in coastal Karnataka during monsoon. I would say they are actually a much smaller version of Jamun or Jambul fruits looking and tasting similar. If you are not familiar with Jambul fruit, it’s also called black plum, java plum, malabar plum etc. In kannada we call it ‘Nerale Hannu’ which translates ad ‘The Purple Fruit’! Kuntale Hannu is a much wilder cousin of this fruit.

After re-searching, reading and asking all of you about these gorgeous berries, I finally decided that I will call them Wild Indian Java Plums!

 

'Kuntale Hannu' or Wild Indian Java Plum Juice

 

Wild Indian Java Plums are very high  flavor and nutrition. Every year children of rural costal karnataka indulge in these fruits during the last summer and early monsoon months. These fruits have astringent sour and sweet taste, leaving behind a signature purple tongue after eating them. Of course it’s an acquired taste like most other wild fruits. My husband who was new to it thought we were crazy to actually enjoy these fruits. My daughter surprisingly fell in love with these instantly. After the monsoon rains, these fruits generally plump up soaking all the water but loose their sweetness with it.

'Kuntale Hannu' or Wild Indian Java Plum Juice

 

These tiny wild java plums are always enjoyed fresh. This is the first time I actually got some back home in a little box and tried making something with it. I didn’t really want to experiment too much with those precious little beauties. I am going to get my hands on them again only next year so if i was not going to eat them plain they had to be put to good use. I couldn’t think of anything  safer than boiling them with some sugar to make a simple wild java plum syrup. This was I could preserve my favorite flavor of the season for a little longer by making tall glasses of wild java plum juice with a gorgeous purple hue!

 

'Kuntale Hannu' or Wild Indian Java Plum Juice

 

Apart from looking stunning and tasting wonderful, this juice is also a great replacement for the mass produced fruit syrups that we get in the market. Making your own variety of fruit concentrates is actually a lot easier than you think. This was you can enjoy colorful glasses of fruit juices which are in season and know that it has more than just color and sugar.

 

'Kuntale Hannu' or Wild Indian Java Plum Juice

 

Notes:

A good alternative to the wild java plum is of course Jamun fruits themselves

You can make a syrup like this with almost all berries.

Use this syrup in smoothies, cakes, ice-creams and pancakes for a beautiful natural purple colour!

You can also add club soda instead of water to make a sparking juice

 

'Kuntale Hannu' or Wild Indian Java Plum Juice

 

Ingredients:

  • 2 cups of wild Indian Java Plums
  • 1 cup sugar

Simply place the fruit, sugar and about 1/2 cup of water in a thick bottomed pot and bring it to a boil. Simmer for 15- 20 minutes till the fruits break open and the juice thickens a little.

Stain and store the fruit syrup in a clean glass jar. Refrigerate for unto a month.

To serve – Take 3-4 tbsp of the fruit syrup in a glass, top it up with some ice-cube and cold water. Stir well and drink cold.

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4 comments :

  • farook

    Hello chinmayee,

    I am farook from mangalore karnataka state. you made me to remember my old days. i eaten all these kuntle and saroli kai every year. i am finding the english names for these berryis.

    I ate one more red berry which is in bushes kind plants. searched in the net but not successful.

    you have written very good blog. Thanks

  • Mohan Shenoy

    Hi Chinmayie,
    Your blog made me relive my childhood in Karkala some 55-60 years back. I was searching in web for some local fruits such as Kuntale hannu and I stumbled on to your blog!!. Kuntale hannu is called BEDASA in Konkani. I dont remember seeing the orange berries. While going to school, I remember buying a dark red berry the size of a jamun tomato, which we were calling as CHAMPAD. When I went to my home town I did search for them but could not get them at all. Do you know or remember anything about them. There was another small green soft berry, which we called CHURNA. It was very sweet. That is also not found now. I do not remember the orange berries illustrated by you.
    Thanks anyways for a blog that made me ruminate.
    Mohan

  • Shashi

    Hi Chinmayee, thrilled to see Indian Java Plums and orange berries. I grew up eating them every year! There are many such wild fruits in Malnad area of Karnataka. I am glad you made an effort to describe and write about it

  • Sargam Manjawala

    Hi Chinmayee, Inidan Java plums as you call them, are known as FALSA here in Gujarat and also in Maharashtra.

    I’ve been following you here and on Instagram and your posts and recipes make me happy :)

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