Discover Pannerale Hannu In Karnataka
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What fruit looks like a guava and tastes like a rose? It is this rare tropical fruit that is scientifically called Syzygium jambos. While there are many variations to the fruits in the Syzygium family that are called water apples, wax apples, rose apples, Malabar apples, and so on, Syzygium jambos is a tropical fruit believed to be a native of Southeast Asia. In India, it is believed to grow and is naturalised to the tropical terrains along the western and eastern ghats regions that cover the states of Maharashtra, Karnataka, Kerala, Assam, and Tamil Nadu.

It is predominantly known to grow in areas that cultivate areca nuts and coconuts. If you are from Karnataka or grew up in the areca nut or coconut farms of South Canara, Malenadu regions, Chikamagalur, or Kodagu district, you are likely to be familiar with this fruit, which is called pannerale hannu in Kannada. While they can be seen in some parts of Pune, Satara, and Kolhapur in Maharashtra, they are popularly found in Kannur, Kollam, Idukki, Tiruvanathapuram, and Palakkad regions of Kerala, where they are known as malakkachampa.

This fruit is fragile and has a short shelf life, making commercial cultivation a big challenge, and the limited produce is up for grabs during the season for a short window of time. They grow on shrubs exuding a sweet rose perfume, because of which the tree is mostly home to a colony of fire ants that one must be mindful of while harvesting the jambo. Since the fruit is fragile and bruises easily, there are many packaging requirements that make it expensive to buy pannerale hannu, and it is a risky task to transport it to different regions, due to which it is not commercially sold and many people might not have seen or even be aware of its existence.

Pannerale hannu has many vernacular names in India. It is known as golapi jamuk in Assamese, champai in Tamil, jambuneredu in Telugu, and jaamb in Marathi. Paneer fruit, as it is commonly referred to in Bengaluru and Tamil Nadu, means rosewater fruit, which is popularised by the city's vendors, who mostly sell them on their bicycle carts. This fruit is eaten raw on its own or also combined with custard, which imparts a rose flavour to the dessert. These golf ball-sized fruits have green, turning to yellow or pinkish-yellow, waxy skin when ripe.

The fruit is light and hollow when it ripens, with a seed or two on the inside that rattles when moved back and forth. The seeds are inedible. However, when you bite into the flesh, you will notice that they are reminiscent of rose water in fragrance and flavour, which are refreshingly light on the palate. They are airy, juicy, and crunchy in texture, and they taste sweet, which is followed by the floral notes of rose, strangely.

The bark and leaves of this tree are known to be used for medicinal purposes, according to Ayurveda and some local medicinal systems. It's used in various ways, from fresh consumption to making jellies and jams. They are known for their diuretic and non-toxic properties. The oil extracted from the leaves through distillation is known to be used in the perfume industry as well.

Pannerale hannu can be spotted in the KR market, local vendor carts, and all the HOPCOMS outlets in Bengaluru during the season. Lately, you can also buy them online in stores like and more, where they are referred to as paneer fruit. If you get your hands on a bunch of these refreshing fruits, you might want to give it a try. And when the taste and texture grow on your palate, you might want to plant those seeds to put your green thumb to use and harvest a fresh batch year-on-year to enjoy this rare produce in a farm-to-table manner.