Karvanda: The Lesser Known Summer Berry
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Want a cheaper alternative for blueberries? Enter karvanda – an indigenous berry that grows along the coastline in India during the summers. This seeded berry, also known as Bengal currant is bitter-sour and acidic in flavour, which works perfectly to make jams or jellies out of. This indigenous berry is also known to have various medicinal properties as well as offer protection from getting a heat stroke during the scorching tropical summers. Karvanda is also used widely in the preparation of pickles, syrups, juices, chutney and even fermented to make wine.

Apart from growing wildly in the state of Goa, the karvanda can also be found growing freely in the states of Maharashtra, Rajasthan and West Bengal. Due to being rich in iron and packed with other nutrients, consuming a handful of berries ground up and mixed with water is known to be a great cure of anaemia. The antioxidants present in the wild fruit have been known to reduce risks against cancer as well as reduce the effects of lung and ovarian cancer.

The berry also has antibacterial and anti-fungal properties, making it an excellent source of nutrients for good skin health. Drinking a glass of karvanda juice has known to alleviate open pores and skin infections, while also having soothing effects on inflammations. Widely used in Ayurveda to make kashayams and kadha, this indigenous berry isn’t easily available in most places and must be scouted for in main city markets where fresh local produce is likely to be found.

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To extend the shelf life of karvanda, it can be preserved in a salt-based solution (similar to pickling) and stored in a cool, dry place for months on end. As the berries ripen, they can be consumed fresh in their original form, leaving the mouth with a puckering sour taste. That said, although the berries possess plenty of medicinal properties, one must not self-administer it in the form of medication as that might have the opposite effect of what was intended for it.