IVY Bael Drink

Descriptions :
The common English name is bael fruit. In languages spoken in India, Pakistan and Bangladesh, it’s known as bael, bel, bela, Bengal quince, bilwa (the Sanskrit word), bili, elephant apple, holy fruit, Indian quince, golden apple, maja, sirphal, siniphal, stone apple, maredoo and vilwa. To Thais, it’s matoom or mapin. To Lao, it's tum. In Malay dialects, it’s bilak, bel or maja pahit. In Indonesian, it's maja or maja batuh. In Javanese, modjo. In Khmer, phneou or pnoi. In Vietnamese, bau nau or trai mam. In Burmese, opshit or opesheet. The Portuguese colonialists called it marmelos. Later French ones called it oranger du Malabar.

Holy Fruit and Holy Leaves

Botanically speaking, a bael tree is Aegle marmelos Correa. Bael trees grow wild in the dry forests of India, Pakistan, Bangladesh and mainland Southeast Asia. They’re also cultivated in India and drier regions of Java in Indonesia and Luzon in the Philippines. Florida, Surinam and Trinidad are among the few places where bael trees are cultivated in the Western hemisphere.

With a soft flaky bark and glossy maroon or dark green leaves, the trees grow 10- to 15 meters (33 to 50 feet) tall. The most likely place to see bael trees is on the grounds of a Hindu temple in India. Bael trees are often cultivated near temples because they are believed to be sacred (thus the name “holy fruit”). Bael leaves are a customary offering to the god Shiva who is said to have lived under a bael tree.

Bael Sherbet

A ripe fruit is round or oval. The diameter ranges from 5 to 12 centimeters (2-12 inches). The rind of the ripe fruit is yellow or brown, with a woody texture similar to that of a mangosteen, but thicker. After removing the long, flat hairy seeds encased in a gluey substance, Indonesians and Sri Lankans eat the pale orange pasty pulp mixed with palm sugar for breakfast. People in northeastern Thailand do something similar with the pulp and cane sugar. Indians make a fruit smoothie drink (a “sherbet” or "sharbet") from the pulp by beating in milk and sugar.

Indians also use mature but still unripe fruits to make jam, marmalade and syrup. They even make a toffee from the pulp. In marmalade, jelly or syrup form, people consume unripe bael to treat diarrhea and dysentery as prescribed by Ayurvedic medicine experts.

Dysentery and Indigestion Medicine

A generation or so ago, before modern manufactured medicines became widespread, bael was commonly used to treat dysentery, constipation and digestive problems in South and Southeast Asia. That’s one reason why colonial powers brought the plant from South Asia to be cultivated in places like Java, Surinam and Trinidad.The ripe fruit is used to make a laxative.

Parts of the bael plant are used for medicine, food, hair tonic, glue, soap and construction materials, as described on this Purdue University page.

Beyond India, Malaysia and Sri Lanka, the ripe fruit is rarely eaten. Perhaps the varieties are very different in other countries; on first bite, the flesh of these fruits tends to be astringent and swallowing it may lead to gagging.
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Category   Food/Spices/Drinks  
SubCategory   Exotic Drinks  

IVY Bael Drink

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