Each Indian Eats What Other Indians Don’t Know

That’s the last batch of rose-apples we had last month from the rose-apple tree in our garden.  This bell shaped fruit, about 2 inches big, is found only here, in Bengal, in Eastern India.  Growing up in the north in India, I actually never saw, or ate or heard of this fruit!! In Bengali it is called Jamrool. Here are some more details about this fruit.  It originates in SE Asia, and in countries like Thailand the rose fruit is a deep rose color, hence the name! It belongs to they myrtle family — species that have aromatic oils, like allspice, clove and eucalyptus. And here in Calcutta, it is brought into the city by villagers who harvest it from trees in their backyards. They sit in street corners with a basket filled only with this fruit to sell it.  And because it is not grown commercially, it is a very expensive fruit!

It is not an apple but it is wonderfully juicy and crunchy like the apple. It’s a light translucent green in color. The flesh is not so pulpy like that of the apple.  And it has a mild sweetness and a wonderful, light lemon fragrance — that makes this fruit an absolutely delightful treat in the summer.

When the tree fruits in the summer — our garden is invaded by birds, beasts and neighborhood children. And when there is a storm — in the morning there is a green carpet of fruits on the ground.  It sort marks the season for me!!  If the Jamrool flowers, you know summer is almost here.

Leave a comment


  1. shruti

     /  October 17, 2011

    I’ve seen this fruit in Mumbai as well. So maybe it’s a coastal specialty.

    • Rita Banerji

       /  October 20, 2011

      Do they eat it and sell it in the market as well? It is very popular in Calcutta. And since they don’t have orchards — it is sold only by individual villagers in baskets who harvest it from their own tree and bring it into Calcutta to sell. Very expensive for that reason — about Rs.300 / kg!!!

    • Also I now figured out why they are called Rose Apple! See this http://thailandforvisitors.com/general/food/fruit/chompu.html Apparently they are red in Thailand and in the SE! I had thought it because it has the stamen etc. sticking out of the end like a rose hip does 🙂 It appears to to tropical but doesn’t say coastal — a fuller description here http://www.bijlmakers.com/fruits/roseapple.htm They belong to the myrtle family — the defining characteristic of which is ‘essential oils.’ So other species in this family are cloves, allspice, and eucalyptus! http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Myrtaceae

  2. vijayapastala

     /  October 25, 2011

    Hey Rita, saw this post on FB and then got connected to your blog. Great job. We get these in Mumbai as well – they are called white jamun and yes expensive but tasty. i love them – except the hair in the hole seems a bit ….!! 🙂 take care –

    • Rita Banerji

       /  October 26, 2011

      Hey Viji — great to get a comment from you on my blog! You know some apples and pears have that hair in the hole too :-)))


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