Gooseberries/Nellikkai/Amla are rich source of Vitamin C. The gooseberry from an integral part of various traditional home remedies and is an essential ingreident in most of the Ayurveda medicines. The gooseberry fruit contains as much as 20 times of vitamin C as that in an orange. Iron in the food is best absorbed when taken in combination of food containing Vitamin C. In that scenario, honey and gooseberries form a perfect pair. I first saw gooseberries soaked in honey at Wayanad. At first, I did not know that it was soaked in honey. When I saw similar jars at different tourist spots, I asked the cab driver and he enlightened me on that. I jusst bought two pieces to taste it. I loved it. From then on, I wanted to try it at home. But did not search for a recipe though. It was in the back of mind. Later I found it in Meenakshi Ammal's Samaithupar Part II.
When I was preparing the post I googled to find the benefits of Goosberry to include as part of the post. I found a recipe for honey berries. I felt it more healthy with out the addition of sugar and think these are the kind I had at Wayanad.
The gooseberry can be preserved using honey, and thus used throughout the year. Take required number of gooseberries and clean them in running water. Pierce the gooseberries using a sharp stainless steel edge at various spots. Now immerse these pierced gooseberries in a jar full of pure honey. Cover the mouth of the jar using fine white cloth and place the jar in sunlight for an hour for 15 days.
A tablespoon each of fresh gooseberry juice and honey mixed together forms a very effective medicine for several ailments. Its regular use will promote vigor in the body within a few days. When fresh fruit is not available, dry powder can be mixed with honey.
For more info on gooseberries and how it can be used as home remedies, check here.
While writing the post, I am reminded of a popular Malayalam saying -
"Moothavar chollum muthunellikkayum Aadhyam Kayakkum, Pinne Mathurikkum "
(മൂത്തവര് ചൊല്ലും മുതുനെല്ലിക്കയും ആദ്യം കയക്കും പിന്നെ മധുരിക്കും).
It translates as "Both elders's advice and goosebrries will taste bitter at first but will turn to be sweet later ". Have you tried drinking water after a bite of gooseberry. If not, try it. Then you will understand the meaning of the above.
Now on to the recipe I followed.
Gooseberries - 1 heaped cup
Sugar 3/4 cup
Water - 1/4 cup
Honey - 2 tblspn
Cardamom - apinch
Wash and dry the berries. Prick with a skewer/toothpick at few places on each berry. Prepare sugar syrup. When the syrup is sticky, i.e. prior to one thread consistency, add the berries and turn well. The moisture released from the berries will make the syrup thin. Continue cooking till the syrup attains the one thread consistency. Add honey and cardamom powder. Cook for 2 minutes and remove from fire. Cool and store in dry glass jar.
Since the berries are also cooked, it gets soaked faster. You can eat the berries the next day itself. But as it ages, it gets more soft and tastes better with soaking. You drizzle the syrup on poories, rotis or bread too. The syrup tastes delicious with the juice of the gooseberries blended in.