Bael Fruit

Bael Fruit

(Aegle marmelos) Also known as beli fruit, bel fruit, Indian bael and Bengal quince. This deciduous tree grows from 6-15 m tall and is thorny, with trifoliate leaves and fragrant flowers. It is grown in temple gardens throughout India with the trees dedicated to the deity Siva and the leaves used in religious ceremonies.

In northern Thailand, the young shoots and leaves are eaten raw with larb, a salad featuring either raw or lightly cooked meat which may be beef, pork or chicken, The young leaves may also be added to salads.

A close relative of citrus, the fruit is about the size of an orange and has a pale green smooth, hard, woody shell. Inside the shell is a pale orange-colored, floury pulp around numerous seeds, each seed encased in a clear, glutinous substance which is esteemed for its medicinal properties. Dried slices of the fruit are sold. These are soaked and boiled, strained free of fiber and the liquid sweetened and drunk as a tisane (infusion).

Not readily available fresh outside South East Asia, but a canned, sweetened puree of ripe bael fruits is produced in Sri Lanka and exported. It may be diluted with water and ice and a squeeze of lime juice added to make a refreshing drink.

Medicinal uses : The fruit is used as a remedy for stomach upsets, The unripe fruit is a traditional Indian remedy for dysentery and diarrhea. It does not constipate and is also effective for hemorrhoids. eating the ripe fruit, on the other hand, has a laxative effect. The juice from the leaves is used as an anti-diabetic.

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