Writer: Shafi Newaz
Photo: Jubair1985, Muhammad Hossain Shobuj, maxpixel, fb.com/PageAmaderProkriti
Summer in Bangladesh might not be comfortable in terms of hot and humid weather condition, but it comes with a gracefulness too. Bangladeshi summer season offers a perfect opportunity to enjoy a bounty of aromatically delicious, fresh and juicy fruits. What on earth can be more satisfying in a hot and humid day than eating a serving of chilled fruit or drinking freshly squeezed fruit juice with a couple of ice cubes on top?
It's also an easy and inviting way to improve your health and nutrition intake. Like other plant derived foods, fruits are packed with vitamins, minerals, enzymes and antioxidant compounds known as phytochemicals. Among the most popular and tasty fruits of summer, Mango, Jackfruit, Black Berry, Lychee, Watermelon are notable. Pineapple, Wood apple, Star fruit, Honeydew, Bilimbi, seasonal Guava, Hog Plum, Palm etc. comes a little late in the market, more precisely in the late Summer and remains available during the entire Rainy season. All these fruits grow in summer, produced in different parts of the country and distributed throughout the country for mass consumption. Here comes the point of sadness for fruit lovers. As the communication and transportation system is under developed as well as time consuming, most of the fruits are either preserved using chemicals before transportation or cultivated before maturation and the ripening process is done artificially after it reaches the local markets.
People are being more and more aware of this fact as more and more people are opting to collect their own share of Summer fruits directly from the orchards to safeguard their health from harmful chemicals.
This issue brought a positive revolution in the travel and tourism arena- ‘Food Tourism’ to light and made it familiar to the people of Bangladesh. We are often asked what Food Tourism is. For me, the pursuit and enjoyment of unique and memorable food and drink experiences, both far and near is food tourism.
For instance, Mangoes, Jackfruit and Lychees are grown mainly in the north-western region such as Rajshahi, Chapai Nawabganj, Natore, Dinajpur, Rangpur, Dhaka, Narsingdi, Chittagong and Sylhet. So, people from other parts of the country utilize the summer vacation and move to these regions to enjoy the delicious variety of fruits plucked from the tree. This practice is growing in popularity with time and putting impact on the country’s travel and tourism sector, contributing to the economic development of country in turn.
Let’s talk about some of the most popular fruits during the summer.
Be it a burning hot & busy day out in the street or a summer picnics and barbecues, it wouldn't be complete without a few slices of ice-cold watermelon. The juicy, red fruit tastes sweet, fresh and light containing 92% water, rich in citrulline, a compound that isconverted to an amino acid known as arginine in the body. Arginineoffers a number of important cardiovascular benefits. Because it helps enhance blood flow and lower blood pressure, it's been used as a natural remedy in the treatment of hypertension, erectile dysfunction and peripheral vascular disease. Each juicy bite has significant levels of vitamins A, B6 and C, lots of lycopene, antioxidants, potassium and amino acids
Mango is often regarded as the ‘king of all the fruits’ in Bangladesh. one of the most important and widely cultivated fruits of the tropical world, considered indigenous to eastern Asia, Myanmar (Burma). The tree is long-lived, some specimens being known to be 300 years old and still fruiting. It is possibly the most popular Summer fruit among the people of this country. This delicious fruit comes with mind blowing taste and mesmerizing smell. Different kinds of mangoes grow here. It varies in color, shape, flavor and seed size. The seed of a mango is covered with a sweet and creamy pulp. Mangoes taste amazing and contain over 20 vitamins and minerals.
Spiky on the outside, sweet in the inside, pineapples are one of mouthwatering fruits. The fruit is actually made of many individual berries that fuse together around a central core. Pineapples’ nutritional benefits are as fascinating as their anatomy. Pineapples contain high amounts of vitamin C, Vitamin B, A and manganese. These tropical treats are also a good source of important dietary fiber, ascorbic acid and bromelain.
Jackfruit is the national fruit of Bangladesh. Jackfruit’s flesh is very high in fiber. The taste and texture make it a great fruit for jams, chutneys, candies, cakes and other sweet preparations. It is a healthy fruit with almost no fats but high energy. The taste, smell and nutritional benefits makes it a super fruit from the tropical areas. It contains high amount of nutrients like vitamin, minerals, electrolytes, phytonutrients, carbohydrate, fiber, fat and protein. Jackfruit is a good source of calorie but contains no cholesterol or saturated fats. It is one of the largest fruits to grow on trees in the world. It grows in plenty on the hilly areas of Chittagong and Sylhet and on the highland of Dhaka, Mymensingh, Comilla and Jessore. Jackfruit is also found in India, Sri Lanka, Burma and Brazil.
Lychee is unique in taste and texture. This wonderful fruit is full of health benefits, including its ability to boost the immune system, prevent cancer, improve digestion, build strong bones, lower blood pressure, defend the body against viruses, improve circulation, aid in weight loss, protect the skin, and optimize metabolic activities. Its outer surface is covered with rough leathery rind or peel featuring pink color. The peel can be easily removable in the ripe fruits. Inside; consists of edible portion or aril that is white, translucent, sweet and juicy.
Bell / Wood Apple
Bell, also known as wood apple is a small, deciduous, smooth tree. Bell is baseball sized fruit with a very hard skin and sticky pulp that is highly aromatic. Bell is eaten in many parts of the world but medicinal value is more than its taste. Flesh is eaten raw or processed into drinks or flavoring which is very helpful for our body. Fruit pulp are sometimes used as a detergent and adhesive. Ripe pulp is used as digestive aid and a laxative. Unripe pulp is used to treat diarrhea and dysentery.
Papaya is believed to have originated from one of the Central American countries. Papayas are generally classified into Hawaiian or Mexican. The papaya fruit is green when young and turns yellow when ripe and the flesh varies in color from bright orange, yellow to pinkish. A properly ripened papaya fruit taste sweet and juicy. It contains papain that helps digestion and is good at tenderizing meat. The hollow part of the fruit contains edible seeds.
Locally known as Kalo Jaam, Blackberry is a common summer fruit. In our country, Black Berry (Kalo Jaam) is seen to be produced and sold in the markets. The soft fruit is popular for use in desserts, jams, seedless jellies etc. The Blackberry contains naturally occurring chemicals that can regulate certain beneficial metabolic processes in mammals. The astringent Blackberry root is sometimes used in herbal medicine as a treatment for diarrhea and dysentery.