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Vishu: When golden cucumbers are no longer taboo

THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: Vishu, sure, has a golden hue to it with bunches of golden showers, golden-hued mangoes, golden-hued jackfruits, golden yellow cucumbers and gold ornaments spread out in th

Published: 06th April 2012 07:30 AM  |   Last Updated: 16th May 2012 10:26 PM   |  A+A-

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THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: Vishu, sure, has a golden hue to it with bunches of golden showers, golden-hued mangoes, golden-hued jackfruits, golden yellow cucumbers and gold ornaments spread out in the ‘Vishukani.’ But did you know that Vishu is the only time in the whole year when the golden cucumbers or the ‘kani vellari’ are seen in the capital city?  Not only are they unseen for the rest of the year, but are banished from the city kitchens too. There is a sourness to the skin, which is disliked by the people of the southern parts of the State. The less mature they are, the more is the sourness.

 The aversion of the city folks to the golden yellow cucumber is reflected in the farms too. Not a single farmer in Thiruvananthapuram or Kollam consciously cultivates this vegetable. If at all someone cultivated this, it would purely be out of a mistake, a mixing of seeds, vouch Horticulture officials. Because, the farmers cultivate only to the market demand, they informed.

 The golden cucumbers, which can be kept for a relatively long time, are widely cultivated in the northern parts of the State, where every household would have at least a couple of these climbers cultivated in their courtyards. Even in pockets of Pathanamthitta and Alappuzha, these vegetables are cultivated in bulk.

 ‘’The golden cucumber is easy to cultivate, does not have any major pest problems and can be harvested in just 45 days. The farmers get at least 10-20 cucumbers from one plant. But they don’t get a good price because of the bulk production,’’ said S Jayakumar, agriculture assistant at Mannacherri.

 Most of the bulk-produced golden cucumbers are sold through the outlets of the Vegetable and Fruit Promotion Council Kerala (VFPCK) across the State.

 Another vegetable that is shunned by the cityfolk, except during Vishu, are the small, cute orangeish yellow pumpkins. Apart from Vishu, they are eaten only when the greenish yellow varieties are in short supply.

The small orange pumpkins come mostly from outside the State, especially Bangalore.

In the local market, they are known as ‘Bangalaore mathan.’

Both in the case of cucumbers as well as pumpkins, the cityfolk prefer the green-skinned varieties. But for the next one week, the yellow will have its moments of glory over the green in the markets!



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