Fruit of Summer

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Jamun Bellini

Summer! to the temperate region of the world, a time to be outdoors; to me, living in the hinterland of India (in some parts of the year), means air-conditioning in full swing, stepping out only after sundown, heat-wave, keep that hat on and save yourself some unwanted heat kind of time. But then there are watermelons and cantaloupes, mangoes, lychees and stone fruit and as the monsoons approach and the humidity increases, this gateway to the himalayan foothills gifts us with a bountiful harvest of blood red to maroon plums, velvety yellow peaches, pink spotted yellow nectarines, apricots, fresh almonds, cherries and jamuns.

Jamuns are these rich purple stone fruit, very popular in the hinterland and very different. It is a tropical fruit and it has very little flesh despite being a big berry, kind of like an oblong California grape, only with a big stone. Another peculiar thing about jamuns is its taste; it is very different. Tans different downplays its uniqueness.

Ayurveda says there are 6 inherent attributes of food. Bitter being the most important and least consumed. The Jamuns fall in the same category, only that its not completely bitter, starts sweet and ends by leaving the tongue numb for a fleeting moment, or till you pop the next one.

It is known to have medicinal properties like the Indian Gooseberry. A great fruit which can prevent diabetes.

What enticed me to this fruit in the first place was the rich intense colour and the surprise in the flavour, and guess what I took upon my self to give it some flare. Chefs in India are doing desserts with it. So I thought why not an aperitif. Remember a great bottle of prosecco and some peach juice and how they come together like magic. Bellini anyone? Well how about jamun juice instead of peach?

It works and works very well. Just that it might leave a few purple stains on that favourite dress or tshirt, so keep the oldest apron handy.

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Jamun Bellinis
50 grams of jamuns
20 grams of sugar cooked into a syrup
1 bottle of Prosecco

What to do:

  • Make a fresh syrup. Add sugar to less than half a cup of boiling water and stir till the whole mixture comes to a boil. Let it cool.
  • Deseed the Jamuns. Now this will be tricky. How I did it was by taking a sharp knife and slicing the jamuns into two. Now lightly scoop out the seed and the seed shell. And watch your french manicure disappear.
  • Puree the pulp. Run the chunks of jamun through a blender and puree it to a fine pulp.
  • Sieve the pulp. Run the puree through a fine sieve to save you from floating fine fragments in the finished drink.
  • Mix the sugar syrup and the jamun puree.
  • Spoon the mixture cleanly into 6 champagne flutes.
  • Just before serving top up the glasses with chilled prosecco
  • Clink glasses

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