Last Updated : Nov 04,2017
Viewed 26788 times
Also Known As
Bel fruit, elephant Apple, Monkey Fruit
The Bel fruit, in actuality, is a herb having the botanical name, Limonia acidissima. Bel fruit has other names like wood apple, elephant apple and monkey fruit. This fruit is called elephant apple because it’s the favorite of elephants. It gets the name wood apple because of its hard wooden shell. The wood apple tree is native to India. It is also cultured in the southern parts of Asia. It is also found in some parts of Sri Lanka and Thailand.
How to Select
Purchase well-colored wood apples that are firm, with a fresh (not musty) fragrance. Skins should be hard with no bruises.
The rind of the woodapple must be cracked with a hammer. The pulp is a sticky matter. It is pulp lifted out and is eaten raw with or without sugar, or is blended with coconut milk and palm sugar syrup and drunk as a beverage, or frozen as an ice cream. It is also used in chutneys and for making jelly and jam. The jelly is purple and much like that made from black currants. Bel fruits can be consumed as ripe fruits or in juice-form. The ripe bel fruit is sweet and is also used for making a tasty drink known as wood apple milk. The ripe fruit is also consumed as custard with sugar or honey. The raw bel fruit is sour to taste and is used to make chutney. Leaves of bel tree are used as salad ingredients. Some people also eat the raw leaves.
Like any other food/fruits, we have to take some precautions while consuming the Bel fruit. Excessive consumption of Bel fruit causes flatulence in the abdomen. So people with gastric troubles should be careful.
How to Store
Bel fruits can be easily stored for upto 10 days in refrigerator. Make sure you keep them open and they are not cracked or broken before storing them. Cold, humid storage ensures that wood apples maintain their juicy texture and full flavour.
• Good for digestion: Bel fruit is good for digestion. It helps to destroy worms in the intestine. Bel juice is a good remedy for digestive disorders. It is also recommended as a remedy for chronic dysentery. The trunk and branches of bell trees have a gum called ‘Feronia gum’. They are used for curing diarrhea and dysentery. Bel fruit is recommended for people with peptic ulcer or piles. Bel leaves contain tannin, which reduces inflammation. The laxative property of wood apple helps to avoid constipation.
• Blood cleanser: 50 mg. of the juice of bel fruit mixed with warm water and sugar is recommended for blood purification.
• Prevents scurvy: Deficiency of vitamin C (ascorbic acid) causes scurvy. Since Bel fruit is rich in vitamin C, it is antiscorbic.
• Good for diabetic patients: The ‘Feronia gum’, contained in the trunk and branches of the tree, counteracts diabetes by reducing the severity of the condition.
• Relief in respiratory problems: Leaves of Bel fruit tree help avoid repeated colds and related respiratory conditions. They also help in curing sore throat. Wood apple is also effective in treating chronic cough.
• Energy Booster: Hundred grams of Bel fruit pulp provides 140 calories and is therefore, a good energy booster.
• Good for kidney patients: Regular consumption of wood apple is recommended for people with kidney complaints.
• A good source of beta-carotene, wood apples also cure liver problems. They also contain thiamine and riboflavin. This fruit is an ingredient in cardiac tonic also.
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