Introducing Kokum: The Perfect Summer Fruit

Getting to Know Kokum

First of all, what is kokum?

Kokum is a native fruit to the western coastal regions of southern India. In Kannada it's called Murugalu. You rarely find it grown or used in cuisine beyond this area. Also know as garcinia indica, the Kokum tree bears hundreds of fruits during the summer. The fruit is green when tender and ripens to a red-purple color, at which point its plucked. Fresh fruit is usually reserved for juice while most of what is plucked will be dried. For drying, the skin and seeds of the Kokum are seperated and traditionally sun-dried.  The seeds are used to make Kokum butter . As a well know counteractive to heat, Kokum is often used as a coolant.

The medicinal benefits of Kokum are wide ranging. Many of its benefits, when consumed, come from antioxidant properties. But it is known to reduce cholesterol, promote weight loss, reduce constipation, relieve pain from anal piles/fissures, improve working of the liver, reduce fever and burning sensations in the body, fight infections and cleanse the blood. Additionally it is used in some Ayurvedic medicines in infusions for skin ailments as well as providing relief from sunstroke and thirst. Finally, the application of Kokum butter quicken the healing of wounds and can be used for cosmetic purposes.

What happens at the BuDa harvest?
Last year we had a beautiful gathering in Honnavar and experienced the processing and preservation of the fruit. We ate many Kokum dishes and enjoyed refreshing juice all the while. While we were preparing the fruits, the children enjoyed fresh fruit with salt, where they made small openings on the top of the fruit, inserted and mixed salt with a small stick and slowly suck the juice directly from the fruit.

Helping Hands: Fruit processing is a community effort
This year the harvesting will also follow a rhythm of a community gathering. Upon arrival, you will see that there are around 100 Kokum trees around the Angadibail forest. Eshwaranna will guide you as to how to pick these oozing red fruits. After which we will clean and prepare the fruits for drying.  We'll also eat and note tastly recipes. Also trying for the first time this year to make Kokum-butter the traditional way. Not to mention we will beat the heat by swimming at the near-by waterfall, playing folk games, a recipe session on regional summer drinks and doing craft with Hanmi Akka. Join us in this celebration of summer, local food and of course Kokum!

The Angadibail House


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