Food | February 2, 2018
The North east region of India was geographically isolated from the mainland for many years. There is a lot of horticultural and botanical diversity here that is not found in the rest of India. There are some fruits found here that are rare to find in other parts of the world and these fruits have their own unique taste, color and medicinal uses. It’s exciting to glance over the special fruity offerings from the Seven Sisters of the North East
Cantaloupes are found in many parts of the world like Iraq, Africa and Middle East but in India, 99% of the production is in the North Eastern States. The Cantaloupe belongs to the Melon family and is fondly called the Musk Melon because of its musky flavor and scent. Cantaloupes are large, warm yellow coloured sweet melons that can be made into purees, preserves and marmalades. War, thinly sliced cantaloupes served cold with a dash of rock salt is a popular summertime snack in the North Eastern states of India. The production of Cantaloupes is spread over Sikkim, Manipur, Meghalaya, Mizoram and Nagaland. These melons have high water content and can cool the body in summers.
Sohphie and Sohphie Nam
Sohphie and Sohphie Nam are both wild fruits found in the land of clouds…Meghalaya. It is interesting to note that Meghalaya is very famous for its production of exotic fruits…most of which is exported to many foreign locations.
Sohphie is found in the beginning of summer and is a great favorite among-st the local tribesmen. This fruit can be consumed raw and it has a pleasant tangy taste but most locals preserve them in the form of pickles. This fruit can also be pounded and diluted with water to make a drink.
Sohphie Nam is Sohphie’s cousin and has a higher fructose content. The bark of the tree 9on which this fruit grows) has astringent, antiseptic and carminative properties. This fruit is used as a cure for chronic bronchitis, toothache, lung infection and dysentery
Both Meghalaya and Tripura have a rich production of berries and mulberries are one of the fruits that are found in abundance in these two states. Soh Lyngdkhur or the black mulberry is an extremely rare kind of sweet black mulberry that cannot be found anywhere else in India. The plant can grow up to a height of 10 meters and has medicnal / therapeutic properties in its bark/ leaves and fruits. The plant itself is used by Seri culturists to feed the famous Eri silk-worms. Mashed and boiled remnants of this fruit are useful in reducing throat inflammation while the fruit has anti pyretic (fever fighting) properties.
The Soh-Shang is as pretty to look at as delicious it is in taste!!! These light pink, pleasantly rounded fruits ripen around spring (March April) and are brought in by the local Meghalaya women to the bazaar. The Soh Shang or wild olive is botanically known as Elaeagnus Latifolia and it is found in many North Eastern states. This fruit is rich in calcium, magnesium, Vit C, phosphorus and is a strong anti-carcinogenic.
Sohiong or Meghalaya Cherry is a fruit found in high elevations in the trans-Himalayan regions. The cultivation of this fruit is done from the hills of Kumaon of India to Manipur in NE India. The Khasi and Jaintia hills see abundant growth of these large evergreen trees. The fruits are dark purple in colour and look like black grapes. They are harvested between August and October. These versatile fruits can be had fresh or made into delicious squashes, jams and jellies.
Featured image: Internet