Variyali Sherbet: Beat The Heat With This Drink From Gujarat
Image Credit: Gujarati Rasoi

The summer months in Gujarat, which typically last from the months of March to June, can be extremely harsh, with surrounding temperatures rising up to 49 degrees. Like most other regions in India that might experience hot summers, traditional cultures in the state call for simple and natural remedies to beat heat-related challenges. As is emphasised many times over, the summer season brings its share of functional challenges for the body that include sleeplessness, bloating, low immunity, acidity and indigestion.

While traditional natural medicine suggests that keeping the summer palette light and consuming foods that are cooling to the body, is the way to go, interestingly a lot of these remedies focus on keeping the digestion on track as well as preventing any ailments that might arise as a result of digestive issues. The variyali sherbet – a fennel-based drink sweetened with rock candy (khadi saakhar), is known to be one of the go-to drinks in Gujarati households that is served as a welcome drink or mid-day beverage during the summers.

Health Benefits

Fennel, as an aromatic herb, possesses plenty of medicinal benefits; one of them being a great digestive to eat post a meal. When consumed as part of the variyali sherbet, it is proven to keep bloating from overeating or acidity at bay, by working as a coolant for the body. The sherbet is also beneficial for women to maintain good uteral health, preventing any kind of dryness and the growth of unwanted bacteria. Consuming the sherbet is also a great idea when you intend to detoxify the system as well as helps in keeping the internal body temperatures consistent.

Variyali sherbet is supposedly great for those who watch their weight and could use a little help in cultivating good metabolism. It induces appetite in those who experience a loss due to the high temperatures and can also be drunk before a meal to induce digestive juices in the stomach. The sherbet also aids in the regulation of blood pressure as well as sooth IBS-related issues that might be aggravated during the summer months.

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How To Make It

Start off by soaking 3-4 tablespoons of fennel seeds in a cup of water, overnight. Drain it the next morning and use a mortar and pestle to grind it coarsely. Add a lemon-sized piece of rock candy to the pestle and continue to pound the fennel and candy mixture until they turn a shade of dark green. Scoop the fine paste using a spoon into a strainer and press the pulp to squeeze out the juices into a glass or jar of your choice.

Add a few mint leaves to this concentrate, if necessary, and pour some cold water to top it up. Add a dash of lime juice and drink at room temperature or chilled. You could also mix this concentrate with cold milk and consume it before bedtime to ensure good quality sleep in the summer.