Wood Apple (Bael Fruit) Punch Recipe:
An absolutely refreshing and healthy Summer Cooler made with Wood Apple and Jaggery.
The hot blazing summers are right at the corner in the Northern part of our country. Despite the thunderstorm and heavy rains only a day before when I stepped out this afternoon it was scorching already. Anyhow while struck in the traffic on our way back I saw some wood apples stacked up on a street fruit vendor’s shelf, I almost forgot the cacophony and was taken back down the refreshing memory lanes where we were forced to have a glass full of “Bael ka Sharbat” most summer afternoons, it would keep our stomach cool and filled, and guard us against the summer heat. ‘Stupid we were as children for I see no reason why we’d squinch our noses on being offered a glass full of deliciousness. Well I was snapped out of my daydreaming in no time with a blaring Honk , Honk, Delhi people I tell you , no patience, Phew!! The traffic ahead had cleared a bit and we drove ahead not before pulling aside and picking a nice large fruit of course.
On reaching home I immediately set out to quench my thirst with this most refreshing, delicious, healthy summer quencher using my mom’s recipe. A ripe wood apple has laxative properties and is considered very good for digestion, there could be many other of which I do not know I am sure. Along with the healthy properties the fruit has this sweet and crumbly pulp that adds a smooth body to its juice.
Well, the recipe shared here has a extra jaggery because the wood apple I got was not completely ripe, well in the rush I forgot the apply Mom’s technique to identify whether the ‘Bael’ is ripe or not. Here’s the trick, first smell the fruit if it smells sweet then snap the stem off the pit and if the pit is orange its ready and ripe, but if its yellowish it’s still under done so just go over again.
Ingredients (Makes 4 glasses):
- 1 medium size Wood Apple, approx 700 gms by weight
- 200 gms Jaggery
- Juice of ½ a lime
- 1 tsp Black salt / kala Namak
- Springs of Fresh mint
- 4 glasses of Chilled water
- Ice cubes to serve
- Crack open the Wood apple, scrap out its entire pulp using a spoon into a glass bowl/vessel. No need to discard the seed at this stage.
- Fill up the bowl with 2 glasses of chilled water till the entire pulp is covered in water. Cover with a cling wrap and refrigerate until you are ready to serve, min 1 hr to max of a day.
- Now when ready to serve, crush the jaggery by wrapping it in a clean kitchen towel and then pound it with a rolling pin.
- Let the crushed jaggery soak with a cup of cold water. Take the soaked wood apple out from the fridge and mash the pulp so that it completely dissolves into the water.
- Use a large strainer and strain the entire thick pulpy wood apple juice into a larger bowl, you may need to tap, stir, and press down the pulp with a spatula to completely extract the juice.
- Discard the remaining seeds, fibres etc left in the strainer. To the juice stir in the dissolved jaggery liquid and the remaining chilled water. Stir well, you may pulse it in a blender for a smother consistency.
- Stir in the lime juice and black salt, pour into your serving glasses, you may keep in the fridge for a couple of hours or straightaway serve after topping up with ice and a spring of fresh mint.
Dos and Don’ts:
Not many but just that do not use any reactive metal to mix juices best use glass vessels.. Also you may add some fresh coconut milk if available for a creamier texture.
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