Falsa is a seasonal fruit,native to India and other parts of south east Asia. Available during the scorching months of May and June,these tiny, richly coloured berries are a delightful combination of sweet and sour flavours.
A rare delicacy these days,the mere mention of falsa sparks bittersweet memories in me.
When I was a kid,in our neighborhood was a palatial mansion with large gardens.There was a huge number of shrubs and trees in the garden,the air saturated with the fragrance of flowers and fruits. I remember there were Java plums, mangoes,litchis,lemons,bananas,guvavas, jackfruit…and a big falsa tree.
In summer afternoons,while the adults napped (a common tradition in India), my friends and I sneaked out of our houses and tiptoed down to the garden.
We climbed trees, picked fruits and played around the garden. The most popular spot was the Falsa tree. We made cones with its leaves and filling them with fresh berries, sprinkled it with black salt and red chilli powder.This provided the perfect kick to the juicy tanginess of the falsa berries.
The sun would be setting by the time we got back to our homes ,our clothes and tongues dyed as rich a reddish-purple as the sky above us,our mothers gazing sternly at us.
The urdu word “faalsaahi“(meaning mauve coloured) is derived from this sweet and sour berry.
Unfortunately, unlike before, when people grew plants just to enjoy their fruits and beauty, irrespective of their commercial value, now, almost all the fruit trees that are cultivated are those which are economically beneficial or valuable.
Falsa unluckily,does not fall in this category. Thus it is slowly dying out. There are hardly any falsa trees to be seen these days and the fruits are only available in local markets.
It’s high perishability also makes it unpopular among commercial growers. Thanks to urbanization this precious fruit is now highly endangered.
Falsa is very beneficial health-wise. It regulates blood pressure and cholesterol, is an astringent and cooling agent, maintains gastro health and is full of fibre.
Falsa sharbat is sweet and tart and an amazing summer beverage.
Prep time: 15 mins
- 250 gms falsa berries
- 4 tbsp powdered sugar
- 1 tsp black salt or rock salt
- 1 1/2 litres water
- Mint leaves for garnishing
- Ice cubes
- Wash and clean the falsa berries.
- In a grinder pour some water,add the berries and grind coarsely.
- Strain the mixture.
- Add water,sugar and salt to the strained juice.
- Serve with ice cubes and mint leaves.
- Enjoy. 😀