Last Updated : Feb 07,2019
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Kokum is a tropical evergreen tree, related to the mango steens. A slender tree with sloping branches, it reaches heights of 15m (50 ft). The thin bark is lined and the leaves oblong. The dark purple fruit is round, about 4 cm (1 1/2 in) in diameter with 5 - 8 seeds. Ripened Kokum looks brownish red, dark blackish red, red with light yellow marks, depending on nature of tree.
The fruits are picked when ripe, the rind is then removed and soaked in the juice of the pulp and then if needed sun-dried. The flesh of the fruit is juicy and has a sweetish acid taste. The normal shelf-life of fresh fruit is about five days. The kokum is difficult to cultivate, usually growing as solitary trees in a tropical forest environment. Fruit vendors by roadside in Westerna nd Southern states of India sell fresh kokum fruit. The sweet and sour taste of fresh kokum is enjoyed by kids and adults alike.
How to select
The fresh fruit should be round and purplish in color, without any soft spots, blemishes or discoloration.
· The fresh kokum rind is used for making juice in many ways. The fresh juice extracted from kokum rind is blood red in colour
· A favorite way of relishing fresh kokum is by applying salt over it.
· Another popular swet spicy and sour drink made from fresh kokum is called sol kadi.
· Fresh kokum makes excellent syrups, which may be used to prepare sherbets
· A few dal preparations also use fresh kokum as an ingredient.
How to store
Fresh kokum should be stored in refrigerator and used within a week.
· Kokum is useful as an infusion, or by direct application, in skin ailments such as rashes caused by allergies. Kokum butter is an emollient helpful in the treatment of burns, scalds and chaffed skin.
· The fruits are steeped in sugar syrup to make amrut kokum which is drunk to relieve sunstroke.
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