Thursday, 25 June 2015

Bountiful Summer

I had read plenty of Konkan's bountiful summers, and experienced them sporadically as well ... but my long stays on the farm this summer took me to a different level. And I am only talking about wild crafted stuff (raan mewa) ... not cultivated!

It started in late Feb with my tribal farmhand starting to use green Karvanda (sci name : Carissa carandas) to make wonderful chutneys with dry copra and chilli. (Note the use of dry copra as the poor guys don't have access to fresh coconut). Then the karvanda found its way into yummy curries of dry fish (dry mandeli / dry lepa) ... here the karvanda was cooked and yet retained its tangy punch.

Shortly after, started the green mangoes. Chutneys again, then the dals. The farmhands pickled some as well.

In parallel started the green cashews ... cashew curries fit for kings! It was amusing to see such a rich diet in the midst of such a minimalist environment.

Kokum (sci name : Garcinia indica) made its appearance then. Shubhra (better half) was kind enough to indulge me with my requests for all sorts of food processing for Kokum. So after a few weeks of activity, we had Kokum sherbet, Amsul, and plenty candied kokum peels for the kids. We did not manage to make use of the seeds, next year will hopefully get some Kokum butter. Kokum is nearly as versatile as coconut ... every part is useful.

By this time, cashew had started maturing so often the evening tipple was accompanied by home roasted nuts (yummy, albeit not pretty). Even the Karvanda were ripe and plentiful ... nothing beats a mouthful of ripe sweet karvanda ... especially when you are slogging away on the hillside and meal time is still an hour away.

In late May, when I thought we had reached the end, mangoes started ripening. The wild variety - small, intensely sweet, intensely flavourful. Soon, we found ourselves craving for them after every meal :)

Also late in the season, my farmhand showed me how the wild Jamuns (sci name : Syzygium cumini) which I had totally ignored so far) taste really nice when really ripe ... meaning when they fall off from the tree or sometimes after softening them in the hot sun. As with Karvanda, the trick here is to get a mouthful ... picking on singles is just not it.

After having dreaded the summer all these years, I am now waiting for summer of 2016 :)

1 comment:

  1. Wow! A lot of hard work but also fun! Great going!