Bael fruit - The nutritious
and indigenous fruits of India
The bael fruit occupies an important place
among the indigenous fruits of India. It is a woody and smooth food which
is 5 to 15 cm in diameter. It has numerous seeds, which are densely
covered with fibrous hairs and are embedded in a thick aromatic pulp. The
flesh is either eaten fresh or dried.
Bael tree is indigenous to India and the
history of this tree has been traced to Vedic period (2000 BC - 800 BC).
The mention of bael fruit has been made in Yajur Veda. The tree has great
mythological significance, and it abounds in the vicinity of temples. It
is held sacred by the Hindus and according to Hindu customs, the leaves of
the tree are traditionally used as sacred offering to Lord Shiva, who is
believed to live under the bael tree.
The bael fruit is grown throughout India as
well as in Sri Lanka, Bangladesh, Pakistan, Burma, Thailand and most of
the south-east Asian countries.
An analysis of the bael fruit shows that it
is rich in mineral and vitamin contents. The sherbet made out of this
fruit has all the important nutrients and health growing ingredients. It
should be thick and syrupy enough to be taken with spoon and it should be
thoroughly masticated. The bael fruit should also not be taken in excess
at a time as excessive intake of bael may produce a sensation of heaviness
in the stomach and may cause gastric discomfort.