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Kokum  - Garcinia Indica

Kokum   ( Garcinia Indica )

Description
Garcinia indica, a plant in the mangosteen family (Clusiaceae), commonly known as kokum, is a fruit-bearing tree that has culinary, pharmaceutical, and industrial uses.

The genus Garcinia, belonging to the family Clusiaceae, includes about 200 species found in the Old World tropics, mostly in Asia and Africa. Garcinia indica is indigenous to the Western Ghats region of India located along the western coast of the country. Of the 35 species found in India, 17 are endemic. Of these, seven are endemic to the Western Ghats, six in the Andaman and Nicobar Islands and four in the northeastern region of India.

Garcinia indica is found in forest lands, riversides and wastelands. These plants prefer evergreen forests, but sometimes they also thrive in areas with relatively low rainfall. It is also cultivated on a small scale. It does not require irrigation, spraying of pesticides or fertilizers.

Garcinia indica is known by various names across India, including aamsol, aamsul, bindin, biran, bhirand,bhrinda, brinda, bin'na, kokum (alternate spellings kokam and cocum), katambi, looikya, sour apple, panarpuli, ratamba, thekera (in Assam) and many others.

Uses
The outer cover of fruit is dried in the sun to get aamsul or kokam. It is used as a slightly sour spice in recipes from Maharashtra. Kokum yields a peculiar flavour and blackish red colour. It is a preferred substitute for tamarind in curries and other dishes from the Konkan region. It is also used in cuisine from Gujarat, where it is frequently used to add flavor and tartness to dal (lentil soup) for flavor balance, and parts of South India.

The vessel on the left contains syrup which is obtained from the vessel containing kokum rinds, on the right. The syrup is used to make kokum sherbet.

Kokum squash or kokum concentrate is used in preparing a drink (sherbet) which is bright red in colour. Kokum sherbet improves digestion and cools the body during summers.

Further, the extract/ concentrate of this fruit is called aagal in Konkani and Marathi. It is to added during the preparation of solkadhi, along with coconut milk.

The seed of Garcinia indica contains 23–26% oil, which remains solid at room temperature. It is used in the preparation of confectionery, medicines and cosmetics.

Recently, industries have started extracting hydroxycitric acid (HCA) from the rind of the fruit.

The tree is ornamental, with a dense canopy of green leaves and red-tinged, tender, young leaves. The oily extract called kokum tel is used in foot massage.


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