Some of my best childhood memories pertain to sitting under the jamun tree and eating the unwashed fruit until my tongue turned purple. In my teenage years, salt or black salt was added according to whose house/garden we were eating the jamuns. This year’s very bumper crop of jamuns had me trading and testing jamun recipes. A jamun wine is coming along nicely, jamun juice, smoothies, raitas, dips and jams have all been tried and tested. An obliging friend recently sent me a huge slice of cheesecake made with the jamun from my garden. It looked much like a blueberry cheesecake and tasted divine.
Jamun or Indian blackberry is also called Jambu in Gujarati, Jamun in Hindi & Marathi, Perinnaral in Malayalam, Jamo in Oriya, Neredum in Tamil, Kalajam in Bengali, Neereedi n Telugu and Black plum or Java plum in English.Every part of the jamun tree is said to have medicinal uses: its fruit, its seed, bark and leaves.The fruit has also rich in manganese, zinc, iron, calcium, sodium and potassium, ALL OF which play an important role in various bodily functions.
Traditional Indian medicines like Ayurveda and Unani prescribe jamun for different health problems including diabetes, dental issues, digestive disorders, liver trouble and skin ailments. While the fruit is rich in antioxidants like tannic and oxalic acids, the bark has digestive properties. The seed is prescribed for diabetes. The seeds of jamun are dried and ground to a powder, strained and consumed in small quantities with water every day to regulate blood sugar levels. The leaves of jamun are said to be natural antibiotic in nature. Jamun seed powder is also used to help in clearing skin blemishes left by acne and blackheads.
This fruit is a boon for diabetics as the enzyme ‘jamboline’ in it helps to control the blood sugar levels. I have included a sugar free ice cream recipe too. Chopping black jamun is an art. Do not select over ripe fruit. Wash well, drain and deseed each jamun fruit by carefully slitting on one side of the fruit and pulling out the seed inside. Then chop the fruit roughly or finely as required. You can even take out its pulp as per recipe requirements.
2 cups of ripe Jamun fruit
2 cups yoghurt.
1 teaspoon fresh grated coconut
Salt to taste
Seasoning: 1tsp oil, ¼ teaspoon mustard seeds, a pinch of hing (asafetida), a few curry leaves, 1 dried red chilli.
Chop the jamun fruit into tiny chunks. Mix the fruit with yogurt and add salt.
Fry all the ingredients of the seasoning in the oil. Add the seasoning to the yoghurt and mix and serve it with lime rice or eat as it as a snack.
1 cup ripe black jamuns deseeded and finely chopped
½ cup grated cheese
2 cups beaten yoghurt
1 teaspoon roasted cumin powder,
½ tsp black pepper
1 bunch chopped green coriander
salt to taste
Mix all these ingredients together and serve with chips or vegetables like cucumber, carrot and celery.
1 kilo Jamun
Quantity of Sugar will be half the measurement of the weight of the Juice extracted. If the juice extracted is weighed to be 800gms, then the Sugar to be added will be 400gms.
1 level teaspoon Citric Acid
Wash the Jamun and put them in a pan. Add water just enough to cover the fruit. Add Citric Acid to it and let it boil for 20 minutes. Let it cool. Squeeze the juice out of the fruits in the water and sieve it. Remove the seeds and skins and discard. Add sugar and cook the juice on medium flame. Stir continuously. The juice will slowly thicken into a jam consistency. To check whether the juice has reached the correct consistency, drop a drop of the mixture in cold water. If the drop sinks to the bottom as a single blob it signifies that the jam is ready. Remove from heat and store in glass jars.
Jamun Sugar-free Icecream
1/2 liter low fat milk
2 tablespoons corn flour
2 cups jamun, deseeded and chopped
5 teaspoons sugar substitute (or to taste )
Mix the corn flour in ½ cup of cold milk and keep aside. Bring the remaining milk to a boil in a non-stick pan and add the cornflour mixture. Stir continuously and simmer over a slow flame till the mix coats the back of a spoon. Cool and add the sugar substitute and the jamun. Mix well and pour into a freezer container. Freeze overnight.
Liquidize in a blender till it is slushy and pour back into the same container. Freeze till the ice-cream is set. Taste the ice-cream mixture as you add each spoon or sachet of the sugar substitute to see how much you actually need for the correct amount of sweetness.