Falsa season in the city

Published April 29, 2018
In season these days.
In season these days.

KARACHI: There is plenty of confusion about the English name for falsa. Some believe that they are blueberries, some confuse them with cranberries or black currants but the falsa, which is predominantly black in colour, seems to have dark indigo, blue, black and even some reddish hues. Its English name may be a mystery but the correct botanical name for falsa is Grewia Asiatica.

Falsa berries are in season these days. They just arrived in the market two weeks ago and now there are heaps available on just about every other fruit cart.

Care should be taken when having falsa as its juice can leave stains on clothes which are said to be un-washable if left there for long. Children love to buy the berries from cart vendors outside their schools in small envelopes made from old newspapers. They have it with spices or some specially prepared masala. One kilogram of falsa costs around Rs200.

But you can have it without the masala, too, although some people like to sprinkle a little salt over their helpings of the berries as they are afraid that eating falsa without it may lead to a sore throat.

There are also carts selling cool falsa juice and sherbet for Rs50 to Rs70 a glass, which is also very much in demand in this hot weather.

Available at Rs200 per kilogramme.
Available at Rs200 per kilogramme.

There are two ways to making falsa juice. Some make it in liquidisers, adding water and sugar to the fruit and giving it a good shake which is then strained out into another container to get the pits or seeds out. This technique only takes five minutes.

Another way is to leave around a cup or two of falsa berries in a pitcher of warm water for about half an hour. The procedure becomes a little messy when you dip your hand into that water to squeeze the berries. That done the pits and peels are thrown away and the liquid strained to add sugar to it according to taste. Later, it can be chilled in a refrigerator or served with ice.

A nutritious remedy for heatstroke.
A nutritious remedy for heatstroke.

The falsa plant is a shrub, which grows easily all over Pakistan though most of the berries being sold in Karachi come from Larkana.

The berry is said to carry medicinal value for heatstroke, as it is known as a coolant, which is also used for clearing acne. It is also good for people with diabetes.

A quicker and less messy way of making falsa sherbet.
A quicker and less messy way of making falsa sherbet.

The falsa season lasts for around two-and-a-half months.

Published in Dawn, April 29th, 2018

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