Have you seen these little beady fruits in the market? Ones with a beautiful tinge of pink and purple? Stopped to wonder what they are and if they should be included in the diet? Well, ‘karonda’ — scientific name carissa carandas — is a fruit that belongs to the berry family. Often confused with cranberries, which are used to make jams and consumed as drinks, karondas are popularly used to make spicy pickles in India. We give you some reasons as to why they should be a part of your daily diet.
Where do they grow?
Believed to have originated in the Himalayas, karonda, however, grows in places with high temperatures. In India, the plants can be found in the Konkan region of Maharashtra and Goa, in Rajasthan, Gujarat, Bihar, West Bengal and Uttar Pradesh. They also grow naturally in Bangladesh and Afghanistan. They have spread to other continents, as well, and are found in parts of Australia and Africa. The fruits are used for canning, preserving and pickling, and are plucked depending on the purpose.
The different names
In India alone, the fruit is known differently in different places. For instance, while in the Hindi-speaking belt, people call it ‘karonda’ and ‘jungli karonda’, in Tamil it is known as ‘chirukila’, ‘sirukilaa’ and ‘kalakai’. In Marathi, it is called ‘karvand’, and in Bangla, it is identified as ‘koromcha’.
In its raw state, the fruit has a sour and acidic taste. When it ripens further, it gets sweeter. But, even otherwise, the fruit is much desired for its culinary application. In the Indian subcontinent, it is used to make chutneys, pickles, sometimes as a substitute for cranberry — given their similar taste and texture. It is also used as a berry substitute in tarts and pies.
The benefits of karonda
The fruit has had a significant association with Indian medicine. It is believed to benefit anemia patients, given that it is a rich source of iron. It has vitamin C as well, which helps with growth and repair of tissues. The fruit is known to keep the liver healthy, by stopping its excessive secretion of bile. It is believed that it also acts as an analgesic, comforts the body during diarrhea, keeps the heart healthy, reduces inflammation, helps fight cold and cough, cleans the blood, regulates blood pressure, and helps with constipation, among other things.
If you are looking for a specific reason to include it in your diet, check with your nutritionist first, who may be able to prepare a specific diet chart for you keeping with your medical history.