Tuesday, 19 June 2012

Chambakka/ Rose Water Apples

Look close,  a bird had been feeding on them
As kids, ours summer vacations in Kerala where spent running around with kids my age and picking fruits from trees. Mulberries and Rose Water Apples or most commonly known as Chambakka were like our daily snack which we picked by hand and enjoyed them right away.

Don't they look like light bulbs
One morning after I returned from a short visit to my parents in Jabalpur, I saw a tree in my backyard which looked like it was decorated with red light bulbs. I was excited to discover that this tree that I had been seeing for the past six months, was a Chambakka tree. It finally blossomed up bearing fruits. I spent a long time taking pictures of it because it seemed like a priceless moment that I did not want to lose. Until it dawned on me that I actually live here and I will always get to eat them. Now, even if I see Chambakka tree without fruits, I will know its Chambakka, I've studied it too well now. I had planned on making some pickle, jam and wine from it but I ended up eating it raw. It doesn't stay on the tree for long, maybe a few days and then starts falling off. A lot of birds eat them up too. 

Of the very few that weren't eaten by birds
The fruit is crisp with mild sweetness and a tangy flavour. It has a mild scent of rose water hence the name Rose Water Apples. The fruit is hollow and the core contains a small amount of inedible stuff. Rose Water Apples/ Chambakka originated in South East Asia. They are evergreen trees, with long glossy leaves. Fruits that I have seen are usually white to pinkish red or deep red in colour but other colour variants of whitish green do exist. They have a waxy flesh and are also referred to as wax apples. They need a tropical climate and grow up to 7 to 12 meters. They are usually grown from seeds and need sandy loamy soil.

Pests that attack them are aphids. Best organic way to keep the pest in control is to have lady bugs in your garden. If not you could blend 100gms ginger with two cups of warm water and spray this liquid on the plants. Diseases that can affect the tree are Leaf spots by Anthracnose and Fusarium root rot. I do not have much of information on these.

Rose Water apple fruit can help with diabetes, piles, diarrhea, sterility in females, dysentery and liver problems. Rose apple fruit affects the pancreas in diabetics and acts as a block against the conversion of starch into sugar. The seeds have a glucose in them called jamboline that can be dried and turned into a powder; this powder can be added to water three to four times a day to help reduce sugar in the urine. I just found out these health benefits, now I have all the more reasons to use it for cooking but alas the rains are here, I wonder how long will it be, before I see these beautiful fruits again.
Reference: Bijilmakers, ehow


  1. Fantastic! I have never heard of Rose Water Apples - I appreciate all of the information. They are gorgeous & so interesting looking. I wish I could try one.

    As a kid, my cousins, siblings & I also spent many days eating fresh fruit off the trees in my grandma's yard. She had an amazing backyard with nectarines, peaches, berries of all kinds & more! There is just something perfect about picking & eating fruit right off the tree.


    PS - Win lots of prizes AND promote your blog here:

    1. Thank You Corrinne... I guess we are the lucky few who had the oppurtunity to enjoy picking fruits and eating them right off the tree. It is a indeed a special experience!

  2. Wow!! These look so juicy!!! The tree it self and the fruit are so gorgeous. The shine of each fruit, they remind me of peppers a little bit. Whats up with the white one?

    -Tony Salmeron

    1. Thanks Charlotte... The fruits have a waxy coat... the white one is just about turn pink... the white ones are raw... we would wait till they turn pink to pick them.

  3. loved these a lot as a kid,beautiful dear..nostalgic one,miss all these here..Beautiful clicks as always!!

    Ongoing Events at(Erivum Puliyum)-
    1. The Kerala Kitchen(June'12)

    2.EP Series-Basil OR Cardamom

    1. Thank you Julie... I can understand your nostalgia... :)

  4. Hey anisha !!!

    you just brought in so many memories i had with chambakka ...we use to stay in a rented house in tvm ...its like 20 years back ...i remember all the fights we use to have to pick them and the person who gets the maximum pick ...they are just lovely to eat ...i have tried making pickles..jam ..wine..and momos using them ...just nostalgic ..

    1. Wow Deepa you made momos with Chambakka... I could have never thought of something like that... now you have inspired me and I look forward to cooking with them.

      I guess this one fruit has played a great part in the childhood of all the people who have spent summers in Kerala and ofcourse if they have lived in Kerala.


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