Jamun or the Java Plums are called Jambu in Gujarati…
Jambu and Indian summers go together, as for me Jambu and my summer vacations are an inseparable part of growing up memories. Well, this again is going to be one of those posts where I get nostalgic and bring back my childhood memories. Summers for me and my brother meant escaping the scorching heat of Ahmedabad for the green and mountainous landscape of Rajpipla, back then a small town situated in southern part of Gujarat. Rajpipla happens to be our maternal home. Today the urban sprawl has caught up with this town but, 30 years back is was an extremely quite and scenic place. Its empty roads lined with huge Banyan, Neem and Pipul trees, the summer blooms of Gulmohor and Garmalo (Cassia fistula) dotting the roads at regular intervals, the intoxicating smell of Jasmine from the petit front-yard gardens, open fields with bajra, maize, sugarcane and banana crops and the mango, chikoo, gauva orchards. The greenery all around was such a soothing sight compared to the dry and arid Ahmedabad. The beautiful night sky that was lit by stars and galaxies, the zigzag flowing Karjan river shone like a gleaming silver sari and the breeze that swept through its waters dropped the temperatures in the later part of evening. Such magical were those times…
Come summer and our gang of 13 cousins would get- together in this heaven for our annual summer vacations of almost 2 months. Mornings were spent hiking and cycling, afternoons climbing the mango and jambu trees or throwing stones to bring down the dates from a lone date tree in vicinity. While mango trees were easy to climb the Jambu trees were equally difficult because their slippery trunks. The older cousins climbed the trees and the younger ones were assigned the task of collecting the fruits that were plucked and thrown. As we enjoyed our fruits of labour, the competition to see whose tongue was the purple-est began. All this was before we trekked down to the river for our evening swim or attack the nearby fields to bite into the fresh sugarcane and bathe in the gushing waters from the tube-well.
Few cuts and bruises, broken hand or leg, tetanus shots were must haves by the end of the vacation, such wounds were always welcome and considered a part of growing up. It proved we had loads of fun during holidays!!! Those were the times when there was no television.. may be that is why we made such beautiful memories….
Apart from the Panchtantra fable of crocodile and the monkey family living on a jambu tree that I must have read and heard numerous times from my grandma (numerous, because each time she narrated it in a different manner) the other vivid memory is of enjoying the fruit straight from the tree. Few years back when my yoga partner Nandita shared this extremely easy recipe of Jambu Sherbet, it was hard not to try making it at least once. Glad I did because now, it is an absolute favourite drink of my family and a ‘must make’ when the Jambu are in season.
Jambu Nu Sherbet
To make 4 to 5 glasses of Jambu Sherbet you will require…
- 750 grams of Jambu/java plums
- sugar to taste
- water- enough to soak the jambu
- roasted jeera/cumin powder
- rock salt and salt to taste
How to make the sherbet…
- Wash the jambu thoroughly and soak them in clean water for 10-15 minutes.
- Put the cleaned jambu and water in a pan ( the water should be at least one inch above the submerged fruit).
- Place the pan on fire and cook the jambu on a medium heat until its pulp separates from the seed/stone. This should take around 10-12 minutes.
- Add sugar as per your taste. The amount of sugar required will also depend to sweetness of the Jambu.
- Let the mixture simmer for a couple of more minutes until the sugar dissolves.
- Remove from fire.
- Allow the mixture to cool thoroughly.
- Massage the mixture with hands to completely separate the flesh from the seeds.
- Strain the mixture and add cold water enough to make 5 glasses of sherbet.
- To the prepared sherbet add roasted cumin powder, rock salt and salt to taste. Stir well.
- Allow it to chill in the refrigerator.
- Serve chilled.