Leaving behind a sour taste

The once abundant njaaval pazham or black plum has gone out of reach of the common man with a price tag of Rs 300

Published: 19th June 2017 10:38 PM  |   Last Updated: 20th June 2017 03:35 AM   |  A+A-

Black plums for sale in the city  Kaviyoor Santhosh

Express News Service

THIRUVANANTHAPURAM:  At first glance it’s easy to mistake them for dates or even grapes. A closer look will tell you that Kerala has begun to depend on its neighbours for yet another fruit once abundantly found here in the countryside and even towns. 


Tamil vendors selling ‘njaaval pazham’ in push carts have become a common sight in the state capital this monsoon season. And the price is a stunner; Rs 300 a kilo! According to the vendors the fruit is being sourced in large quantities from Kuppam in Andhra Pradesh.

“There are plantations there. The fruit is packed and brought to the Chalai market here for distribution,” Vedhi, a vendor at Vellayambalam, said. According to him, the fruit, properly refrigerated, will keep for two days. And despite the exorbitant price, the fruit is finding takers in the city, vendors say. 


The njaaval variety from Andhra Pradesh is slightly bigger than the ones found in Kerala. The sourness content also is higher. The njaaval (scientific name - Syzygium cumini) is native to the Indian sub-continent, and also goes by the names ‘jamun’ ‘jambol’ or simply ‘black plum.’ Slightly sweet, slightly sour, njaaval - like wine, which it is also used to make - is an acquired taste. In Ayurveda, it is used to control diabetes. Eating a few will also leave a purple tint on your tongue.

Tangy fruit
lNjaaval Pazham from Andhra Pradesh finds takers in the capital city
lPriced at Rs 300 a kilo lTamil vendors sell the fruit in pushcarts

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