Think monsoon and the first food items to come to your mind will probably be the hot flavours of oily, greasy, fried and crunchy food. We’re not denying it, on a rainy afternoon, all of us have given into the lure of hot pakoras with chai. But growing up, it was a different scene in my family kitchen. Here, the monsoon seasonal fruits were the heroes. Sure, I loved my share of deep-fried bread pakoras during the monsoon but the freshness of the seasonal fruits always managed to win me over.
As soon as the grey of the monsoon arrives, so does a vibrant and juicy pop of colours in the fruit market. This is the time of the year when all things sweet, sour, tarty and robust burst to life. I learnt this thanks to my family who loves feasting on seasonal fruits. The younger me may not have realised it but over the years, I’ve come to cherish those fruity monsoon memories. So here’s a list of 7 seasonal fruits to savour this monsoon!
When I was younger, I referred to Pomegranate as God’s most beautiful creation because its growth into juicy seeds with white skinned layers separating each segment truly fascinated me.
Being my favourite fruit, the fond memories of sacks full of pomegranate coming from our family farm remain with me. We would sit around heaps of pomegranate, eating some and boxing some at the same time. By the end of it, I had quite a few pomegranate-coloured stains on my shirt to show off. To this day, as soon as I crack open a pomegranate, the fond memories come rushing back.
What to Make: Pomegranate Lemonade, Pomegranate Granita, Pomegranate Bhel, Pomegranate Juice, Pomegranate Molasses and Pomegranate Salad.
High on water content, this sweet and sometimes bland fruit is green on the inside and at times a faint orange. A chunk of seeds sit at the muskmelon’s centre. I remember my mother would freeze chopped pieces of muskmelon and then make a slushie out of it, to help us beat the summer heat that peaks right before the monsoon. Muskmelons arrive around the monsoon and stay right until July. The fruit’s seeds can be dried and used in salads and smoothies and some even enjoy them as mouth fresheners.
What to Make: Muskmelon Juice, Muskmelon Slush, Muskmelon, Muskmelon Sorbet and Muskmelon Ice cream.
Harvested in May and available all through the monsoon, this spiky on the outside and soft-pulpy on the inside fruit is purely nectar-like. The litchi’s thin and prickly skin when peeled off releases a floral fragrance that transports you to a litchi farm.
I remember litchi peels on the kitchen floor, as my mother carefully peeled the fruit, separated the pulp in a separate bowl for us to later indulge in together. As soon as you bite into a peeled litchi, the juices splash and trickle down your palms, and this always brings back many fruity memories from childhood.
What to Make: Litchi Ice cream, Litchi Cream, Litchi Custard, Litchi Shake, Litchi Kheer.
While the less ripe plums can have a puckering effect, the fully ripe plum has a thin skin, is super juicy and divinely sweet. Each time I was on a fruit shopping spree with my grandfather, these beauties would lure me from the window of my car itself. After heavy downpour, the water droplets on these deep red fruits just made the plums look more enticing than ever. And, of course we bought enough for me to empty half the fruit seller’s stock right there.
What to Make: Plum Sorbet, Plum Sauce, Dried Plum Cookies, Plum Jams, Plum Tarts.
One of my personal favourite monsoon seasonal fruits, cherries are a cherished memory. The moment my grandfather would come home with a box full of these red glories, I couldn’t wait to grab a bunch of them, run to my corner and savour them all.
I remember wanting the cherries to last long enough and play with the seed in my mouth for hours, until there was no more cherry flavour left. Almost sweet but bordering on sour, these glossy, deep red dollops of fruit make way into the market in June and sweeten the deal until September.
What to Make: Cherry Cake (All I can think of is a Black Forest Cake), Cherry Pickle, Cherry Pie, Cherry Jam.
With its velvet-like skin which is luscious yellow with blushes of orange in colour, peaches are easy to recognise in the fruit market. Dig into a peach and a mix of flavours ranging from sweet and sour will explode in your mouth. The market is filled with peach’s musky smell from April to June so indulge before they get lost into the next-season’s fruit mania.
What to Make: Peach Compote, Peach Tart, Peach Cream, Peach Chutney, Peach Phirni, Peach halwa, Peach Milkshake and Peach Lemonade.
Also called the Black Plum, Java Plum, Jambol and Indian Blackberry, this tart-ish fruit floods the market in May and stays up until end of July!
Leaving behind smears of purple on your tongue and teeth, this fruit brings back a lot of colourful childhood memories. Some Jamun varieties re-enter the market for their second innings in October, giving you one more chance to relish the fruit.
What to Make: Jamun Juice, Jamun Mint Popsicle, Jamun Ice cream, Jamun Smoothie and Jamun Mousse.
Think of her as a delicacy. She could be a red sauce penne pasta or refreshing strawberry smoothie. A little sweet, quite tangy and unapologetic on the palate. Her soul is that of a gastronome, mind of an illustrator and heart of a writer. She uses these ingredients to plate up tasty stories about food at India Food Network as an Associate Editor. Be it her blogs, articles, reviews or food shows; she promises a wholesome affair.