Fancy eating something that is also referred to as the Puke fruit? Well when you are told that it is also called the miracle fruit due to its numerous properties that are beneficial to health, then you may feel a bit more benevolent towards it 😀
I had heard about the noni and its various value added avatars that are sold in the form of juices, powder, capsules etc but I had never seen the actual fruit.
Well I had finally had the pleasure of coming across the noni tree, on a recent visit to Chiguru farm owned by Raghavendra (Raghu) on the outskirts of Bangalore where he has cultivated some really wonderful species of fruits, vegetables, herbs and many other unusual medicinal plants and trees.
So here is one more rare fruit or as I like to say in my pretend Spanish, some Frutas Raras to enhance my newly started series on unusual produce 😀 Check out the rest in this section on Fruits and Vegetables.
While touring the farm, the lumpy green and pale white fruits peeping out from the dark green foliage of the lone noni tree, suddenly caught my attention. Raghu explained to me that this was the noni that he had planted a few years and which was generously fruiting as a reward for his care.
The noni has its origins in the islands of the South Pacific and south east Asia. It is also known by other names such as Indian mulberry, cheese fruit, miracle fruit etc.
It is lumpy, dumpy and somewhat like an elongated potato in appearance, with its surface dotted all over with eyes that give it quite the appearance of a misshapen grenade.
The fruit is dark green when raw and lightens to a really pale green and almost whitish hue when ready to be eaten. The fruit is ripe when the dark skin turns translucent and the fruit yields easily to pressure.
The inner flesh is studded with several black and crunchy seeds.
Noni has a characteristic pungent smell or should I say stench, that is said to be reminiscent of puke or blue cheese or even better, dirty socks 😀
The taste is equally offbeat and I have seen many opinions online as to what this fruit says to the palate. Other people’s horror videos apart, the lone noni that I have tasted does not feel all that weird as to get into a state of shock and pop my eyes or roll my tongue as if I was shot in the palate, like some of the people in those videos appear. Or maybe those videos did help me to prepare for the experience, without harboring high hopes 😀
Anyway there was not much drama in my mouth as I gingerly bit into what tasted like a mix of nutmeg and cinnamon. Not really like a fruit as in fruit, if you get what I am saying but it felt more like I was biting into medicinal produce or some sort of spice.
To be honest, I am a fruit lover and quite willing to experiment and be open minded about new species that I come across. So regardless of the general opinion that I see in the online world, I choose to be different and say that I like the noni and I am fascinated by it 😀
Coming back to my personal noni, I ate half of it and the other half was forced upon the reluctant family, stating its health benefits 😎😉
Medicinal properties of the noni –
Speaking of health benefits, the noni is sought after for its medicinal properties, being a rich source of protein, antioxidants, vitamins, minerals etc.
It is also said to be anti inflammatory and is used a treatment for cancer, arthritis, skin conditions, high blood pressure, depression and even to reverse ageing. The smell does not feel all that disgusting now, does it? 😀
Well this information has been obtained from talking to people who know about this fruit and also from the internet and obviously not from my own experience. So do your own research in case you are interested in learning more about this so called magical fruit.
How to eat a noni –
The ripe fruit is pale and whitish with a soft, thin skin. The entire fruit can be eaten or you can choose to peel the skin and nibble on the flesh or slice and dice it up.
The innumerable seeds occupy quite some space and there is not much of a fleshy feel, despite the lumpy plumpy appearance. Apparently the seeds can also be crunched up and consumed but they do not add to the flavor in any way. They just tend to hinder the teeth from sinking into the flesh that they instinctively seek. Hence the seeds can be eaten or ‘spitten’, according to your choice 😀
The nutmeg like zing does tend to render the tongue a bit numb at first, so do not be alarmed at the tingling.
The leaves are also edible and are made into various dishes including batter fried fritters. They are also used to wrap ingredients like fish etc which are then steamed in these leaf parcels.
Well this is all the information I have about this fruit for now. This post will be updated as and when I learn more. And maybe there will be a few recipes if I get the chance to cook with the various edible parts of the noni tree.
I hope you enjoyed reading this post. Do let me know if there is any specific ingredient or rare fruit or vegetable that you want me to write about in future.
Do leave your valuable feedback in the blog comments.
Sep 30th, 2020