Beler Pana or Wood apple sharbat

11:01 PM


Beler Pana (Wood apple drink) is a drink that I hated with vengeance as a kid. and if I am a hundred percent honest, then I must admit that am still not a big fan either. I like the taste of this fruit and prefer to use a spoon to scoop the fleshy orange pulp from it and eat, but not the sharbat which gels easily and provides a weird texture.

But as a parent you are not supposed to tell truth all the time. So come every summer I bring these home dutifully and make this simple sharbat for the family. Especially for the men as it is extremely beneficial in aiding digestion and getting rid of constipation and ulcer. Luckily the kids drink them without any complain though the daughter demands it to be strained to get rid of the small white fleshy bits. 

Bael, Bel, wood apple, Bengal quince in whatever name you refer to it is a good source of Vitamin C and purifies the blood and removes toxins from the body, thereby reduces the strain on the liver and kidneys. So like it or not I make it a routine to drink a small glassful of this almost every other summer afternoons. and making it is very easy too. In our family, we do not use any milk or other ingredients. It's just three ingredients, freshly made and immediately consumed.

If you do not like this drink then you might consider consuming the Murabba that is quite popular in Bengal and available all across the state. Though very sweet, still having it in small doses will also do you some good.

To choose a good Wood apple smell the depression where the stalk was attached to the fruit. It should smell sweet and pleasant and the shell should have a yellow to orange tinge on it. If it's green, then most probably is not yet ready. If you want to save a part of the fruit then make sure to cover the fruit in plastic wrap or store the flesh in an airtight container. 

Here goes my very simple recipe

Beler Pana or Beler Sharbot
(Makes 5 glasses)

Ingredients:
Bel: a small one (2 cups flesh)
Sugar: 6 tbsp or as per taste
Cold water: 31/2 cups or little more

Method:
Using a hammer or the handle of a knife break the ripe fruit. Using a spoon scoop out the orange flesh. Scrape the shell to take out all the pulp. Place this in a big bowl. Add the sugar and start mixing by your hand. Squeeze the pulp in your plam to make it smooth. Add 1 cup water and keep mixing and squeezing the pulp till the mixture is somewhat smooth. Now using your fingers start removing the seeds and the long thread-like fibers. I do not prefer to strain it so I remove all the hard bits using my fingers.

Once you are happy with the texture, add the rest of the water or adjust the thickness and sweetness as per your liking. Serve immediately with or without ice cubes.

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