Wood Apple / Aegle Marmelos / Bael
Wood Apple or Bael fruit is a sweet, aromatic fruit that grows on the bael tree (Aegle marmelos), native to India and Southeast Asia. It's typically eaten fresh, dried, or in juice form. The fruit provides vitamins like vitamin A and vitamin C and has been found to act as an antioxidant. It takes about 11 months to ripen on the
HEALTHY & FUN FRUITY FACTS
Wood Apple / Aegle Marmelos / Bael
Wood Apple or Bael fruit is a sweet, aromatic fruit that grows on the bael tree (Aegle marmelos), native to India and Southeast Asia. It's typically eaten fresh, dried, or in juice form. The fruit provides vitamins like vitamin A and vitamin C and has been found to act as an antioxidant.
It takes about 11 months to ripen on the tree and can reach the size of a large grapefruit or pomelo, and some are even larger. The shell is so hard it must be cracked with a hammer or machete. The fibrous yellow pulp is very aromatic. It has been described as tasting of marmalade and smelling of roses. The flavor is "sweet, aromatic and pleasant, although tangy and slightly astringent in some varieties". It resembles a marmalade made, in part, with citrus and, in part, with tamarind. Numerous hairy seeds are encapsulated in a slimy mucilage.
Bael fruit can be eaten fresh like other fruits. Its juice is used to make drinks and squashes, especially in the summer season because of its sweet and pleasant nature. In India, a drink called sherbert is made by adding milk and sugar to seeded bael fruit pulp. Bael fruits doesn’t split open even after getting ripened. Choose a pale-yellow, sweet-smelling fruit and try breaking the shell with a hard object. Scoop out the pulp to make this easy sherbet. Another popular drink is made by combining bael fruit pulp with tamarind. Take bael fruit, wash it and break the hard shell from all around. Once it broke, remove the pulp in a bowl. Mash the pulp till it softens and strain the mixture to remove any solid particles or impurities. You can add chilled milk, cardamom powder, jaggery, and black salt to the bael.
To make jam, pulp from mature, unripe bael fruit is mixed with citric acid and sometimes combined with guava for added sweetness. In Thailand, young shoots and leaves from the bael fruit plant are used as a seasoning. It is used in the preparation of candy, squash, toffee, and pulp powder. Bael tender leaves are used as salads.
There are several varieties of bael fruit. Smaller, hard-shelled varieties grown in Florida are used for medicinal purposes rather than fruit consumption. Larger and softer varieties with thinner rinds, higher sugar content, and fewer seeds are more suited for commercial growth. These include Kaghzi, Darogaji, Rampuri, Ojha, Khamaria, and Azamati.
Bael fruit is native to India and Southeast Asia and harvested between March and April. It is also found throughout the year in Florida. Bael fruit is picked when it's still yellowish-green. Let it sit until the stem separates from the fruit and the green tint disappears. Avoid fruit that is bruised or showing signs of mold.
The unripe fruit, root, leaf, trunk, and branch are used to make medicine. Extensive experimental and clinical studies prove that Aegle marmelos possesses antidiarrheal, antimicrobial, antiviral, radioprotective, anticancer, chemo preventive, antipyretic, ulcer healing, antigenotoxic, diuretic, antifertility and anti-inflammatory properties, which help it to play role in prevention and treatment of many diseases.
Although bael fruit is not a proven cancer treatment, it may help reduce some of the cumulative damage that increases cancer risk over time.
Bael is used for constipation, diarrhea, diabetes, and other conditions, but there is no good scientific evidence to support these uses.
Bael contains chemicals called tannins, flavonoids, and coumarins. These chemicals help to reduce swelling (inflammation). This might help treat asthma, diarrhea, and other conditions. Also, some of these chemicals help to reduce blood sugar.
Preliminary studies on bael fruit suggest that it is fiber-rich, low-calorie fruit that provides some protein and very little fat. Bael fruit is an excellent source of riboflavin, 91.5% DV, and also provides vitamin C, vitamin A, and potassium.
In different regions, it is known by varied names:
English name: Wood apple
Bengali: Belpatthar ka paid
Marathi: Belaache zaad
Kannada: Belladi hannu