It is a common sight in most of the southern states to see roadside venders chopping and selling these small coconut size purple/black fruits. These fruits are christened by the British as ice apples, though they are called by different names in local dialects. These fruits come from palm/palmyra tree and are in season for a very short period during the early summer months. These are widely available in southern states and particularly in coastal areas. It is like tender coconut, much smaller in size, and tastes like lychee, full of minerals and very refreshing in a sunny hot afternoon.
The British called it ice apple for its cooling effect and translucent ice like flesh. If you cut the hard shell and carefully open, you find three kernels. These kernels contain sugary juice. Drink the juice and eat the white fleshy part which tastes bland and crunchy. Ice apples must be consumed at once when cut, as it becomes fermented changing its taste. On storing the loose kernels, the fruit sugar ferments to alcohol giving it mild astringent taste.
- It is said that this fruit is never contaminated with chemicals and has remained organic for decades. This fruit grows naturally absorbing the minerals in the ground and does not require fertilizers. It is not only organic fruit but also keeps up the glucose levels and helps us withstand the heat wave.
- Ice apples provide a balanced nutrition comprising glucose, minerals and other necessary energy for the consumers. The fruit is rich in B vitamins, iron, and calcium.
- Ice apples provide hydration during soaring temperatures and protect us from fatigue and heat strokes. They provide essential adequate liquids required by our system.
- Palm jaggery made from palmyra has many health benefits. The sugar made from this jaggery contains minerals and vitamins kept intact during the refining process.
- The fruit along with other edible parts of the palmyra is used for treating digestive issues and stomach ailments.
- It provides perfect balance of minerals and sugar for the body.
- Ice apples are profound to oxidation and the flavour begins to change instantaneously.
- Ice apples help keep up glucose levels and provide the right balance of minerals
- These fruits are rich in vitamins A, B, and C, iron, zinc, phosphorous, potassium and lot more.
- They can be given to the person suffering from chickenpox so that its cooling effect can reduce the suffering number of days.
- Ice apples deep red and purple colour are the source of phytochemicals anthocyanin, which may inhibit the growth of tumors and breast cancer cells.
- Pregnant women in particular benefit from it since it improves digestion and helps with constipation and acidity problems.
- Ice apples are an alternative to artificial juices high in calories and sugar.
- Ice apples have abundant basis of potassium and low in calcium that helps control blood pressure.
- Over ripened fruits are not good for consumption. As they fall to the ground they are covered in mud and a plant thus gets reproduced. Later the tender shoot popping out of the fruit is boiled or roasted and eaten. The fleshy stems are very nutritious and fibrous. They are known as ‘Tagalu’ in Telugu.
By Nibhanapudi Suguna