There’s more to this simple Bael Fruit Juice (Belada Hannina Panaka) than just it being a special drink on Ramanavami (a festival in South India that commemorates the birth of Lord Rama). The numerous health benefits, the medicinal value of this fruit and the wonders it does to the body is unparalleled. A refreshing, tasty and a simple drink made with 4 ingredients and is perfect for summer as it cools the body naturally.
Come Summer, salads and fresh fruit juices and juicy fruits make their way into the market and to the kitchen counters and eventually into our tummies. But, much before the modern day juices and smoothies made its way in the recent times, our ancestors exactly knew what is good for our body and how to utilise the seasonal fruits to the maxx. Its amazing to note how they just knew it all and how happy and healthy they were vis-a-vis how we easily get fatigued after a short workout session or a short walk to the supermarket.
Bael Fruit is also known as wood apple or stone apple, elephant apple in English and is native to India, Srilanka, Indonesia, Thailand and Malaysia (Basically most parts of Southeast Asia). It has numerous health benefits and is known to cool the body and balance the vatha and pitta, the energetic forces of nature, and the functional principles that help us to better understand ourselves, and the world around us.
They have a hard shell and a soft pulp that is aromatic, sweet and smells like musk ( I love the smell, it is so intoxicating). The hard rind and does not split upon ripening. The woody shell is smooth and green, gray until it is fully ripe when it turns yellow. Inside are 8 to 15 or 20 sections filled with aromatic brown pulp, each section with 6 (8) to 10 (15) flattened-oblong seeds each about 1 cm long, bearing woolly hairs and each enclosed in a sac of adhesive, transparent mucilage that solidifies on drying. When you cut it open , they resemble the lotus seeds.
The reason why these fruits are used primarily in summer is because the extracts of this fruit is known to cool the body immensely and purify the blood. And since Ramanavami falls in during the peak summer days, this fruit along with a glass of buttermilk and Kosambari ( a salad made with cucumber/carrot with soaked lentils and seasoned with mustard and spices with a generous drizzle of lemon juice and a heap of freshly grated coconut) was served as refreshments to those who visited temples and homes in the olden days, it eventually became a practice that was passed on to generations. Panaka means syrup/juice and hence Bael fruit juice became a staple during Summers.
Talking about the numerous health benefits, Bael fruit is a powerhouse of nutrients, vitamins, and organic compounds, including calcium, phosphorous, fiber, protein, and iron.
It is great for:
- Purifies the blood and removes toxins
- Cures constipation
- Great for the liver
- And is known to prevent scurvy
Bael fruit is also eaten raw with salt and pepper, but making this juice is the easiest. Requires just 4 main ingredients and is so very refreshing.
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Belada Hannina Panaka | Bael Fruit Juice
Refreshing, tasty and simple bael fruit juice (belada hannina panaka) made with 4 ingredients and is perfect for summer as it cools the body naturally. The numerous health benefits, the medicinal value of this fruit and the wonders it does to the body is unparalleled.
To know if the bael fruit (wood apple) had ripened or not:
- Just drop the fruit on ground lightly and if it bounces back it is still not ripe. If it doesn't then it is almost ripe.
- Another indication to is the smell, once the fruit is ripe inside, it starts to emit a musky smell which indicates that the fruit is ripe enough to use. if you leave it inside for too long and don't use it, the fruit dies within and emits a shallow sound.