Goa Summer Delights surprised? Summers can be harsh in Goa. Fruits are the Goa Summer Delights of this tiny state that bring some cheer and make the summer heat seem a bit bearable. It almost feels like nature’s way of compensating for the killing heat. It all begins with a series of Cashew festivals in the state sometime in April. Once the hullabaloo is over, step into the lovely markets of Goa and you would discover these summer fruits that you can relish. We regularly go to Panaji Municipal Market and off and on go to Mapusa market that is a bit away but a little more vibrant. This season I saw some fruits that I have not seen elsewhere and that called for sharing this blog post.
Relish these Goa Summer Delights
Bibbe or Raw Cashew Nut
Cashew is the king of Goa. No matter what mode you take to enter Goa, the piles of cashew would welcome you. You find them at the airport, at the railway station, at bus stations, and at all possible tourist corners along with its baby Feni. Now what you may not have seen is the wet or raw cashew, locally called ‘Bibbe’ that you get only during summers – typically Mid-March to Mid-June. You buy it by pieces, at peak season something like a Rupee per piece and at other times a bit higher. You need to soak it for a while to be able to peel the skin and eat it raw. It tastes yummier than its dry & hardened version that we usually consume. I guess to make curry out of this would also be easier though the thought of rich curries in this summer heat is repelling.
My verdict – Must try if you are in Goa during the summer months. You may like to read my blog post on Cashew-trail at Park Hyatt
Zaam or Jaam or Water Rose Apple
This triangular conical fruit comes in 2 colors – light green and dark pink and within these colors in various shades. This can be seen all over the place including on the trees if you look carefully. It is quite a bland fruit with almost no taste. Absolutely hollow inside it is just a thin layer that you eat – but it provides the much-needed hydration to take on the summer heat. When you eat, it almost feels like sucking in a bit of glucose but with a minimal sweet taste. Sometimes also called Love apple – I guess because of the heart shape that it can look like from certain angles.
Caranz or Karvandam
A small purple berry that you find in the markets but more often on the roadside especially when you go south of Margao. On the road, women usually sell them in cones made of leaves – what an eco-friendly way to package the products. The taste is Khatta-Meetha or sweet & sour – primarily comes from the pulp of the fruit. Two small flat seeds are embedded in the pulp. The raw version of this fruit, when it is still hard and green is also available for making pickles.
Jackfruit is a favorite fruit in this part of the country and they said each and every part of jackfruit is usable or rather consumable. You get jackfruit almost through the year both as a vegetable and as fruit. During summers in Goa, you get jackfruit seeds that you can boil and eat. Raw they are hard and not so inviting. Boiled and dried – they are equivalent to consuming peanuts in winters in north India.
If I were to choose the state fruit of Goa, I would choose Kokum – for it is truly found only in Goa and around. You can find Kokum products again all over the state – including dried Kokum. In summers though you get fresh Kokum fruit – in its pink-purple color. However, the more durable dried one remains on shelves around the year. There are innumerable things you can do with Kokum, but I like it the best as a mild drink or lightly flavored sharbat. Sol Kadi is a perfect Kokum drink to have.
This is a fruit found across India. If you travel a bit outside the urban areas and take a morning walk, you would often find yourself walking over this purple berry. Jamun is a native fruit that gives the Indian subcontinent its indigenous name Jambudweep. Incidentally, it also comes in summers, and Goa, still not so urban, lets you enjoy it in abundance.
Desi Amla or Gooseberry
You get this small Amla with its well-contoured grooves. This is about 10-20% of the size of regular Amla, has no sheen, and is not as sour, making it easier to eat it raw. Eat it raw and keep a lot of diseases away. Pickle it to relish it for the rest of the year.
Churna or Cotton Fruit
Saw this white cottony fruit only once in Mapusa Market. Small soft white balls being sold in green cones made of leaves. On the tongue, it is like putting a piece of a moist cotton swab with again a very bland taste. I was told it grows on a plant that is used for making fences. I assume it is a wild berry of a kind with underdeveloped pulp.
Baby pineapples with pink skin. It is lovely to see them growing in the neighborhoods.
Pink Sweet Lime
Another summer fruit, this one is a huge sweet lime fruit with the pink pulp. It tastes Khatta Meetha – a little sourer than the regular orange/yellow sweet lime. What intrigues me about this fruit is its big size and pink color almost like a giant monster seen wearing a baby pink color.
Mangoes – Best of Goa Summer Delights
Finally, these are Goa’s contribution to Mango diversity in India.
Goans make jams of almost all these fruits – though am not a very Jam person so have not tried any of them.
As I finished writing this I realize Pink/Purple is the dominant color of Summer fruits in Goa.
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