My drive of 75 kms from Kochi to my hometown is always fascinating. This time for a new reason.
Throughout the journey, there are stalls on both sides of the road where fruits are sold in plenty. Attractively stacked up are oranges, pineapple, Kerala bananas, grapes and even dragon fruit.
Something common to the first four is that it’s 4kgs for ₹100 ($1.35). That’s quite a bargain for any standards. In fact the majestic tropical fruit pineapple is sometimes sold at unbelievably low prices.
Clearly the farmers get even less as the buyers pay middleman markup too.
Remember, all these are quite perishable and the producers can easily be taken for a ride.
This seasonal distress could dissuade a hardworking farmer from producing at all, which will then start the vicious cycle of food shortage.
This unless authorities step in and guarantee a minimum sustainable price. It’s been lobbied for producers of items like wheat and rice.
We too have a social responsibility of supporting the farmers. However it’s difficult to consume or store larger quantities.
But we can try certain things like processing them to last longer.
I bought grapes more than I could consume. And here’s what I did for processing it.
Wash/ clean the grapes keep them with skin (I bought the seedless ones). In a hard bottom vessel melted palm jaggery. Added the grapes to it kept in low flame till they become tender.
Squeezed two lemon juices and continued processing, mixing periodically for uniform heating.
Used a potato masher to mash the grapes and continued on small flame till it became thick for a jam consistency.
The outcome is quite tasty and can be used as jam or spread. It has a shelf life though no preservative was added. And longer life when kept in the fridge.
If we do this with the seasonal produces, we can have the satisfaction of contributing to the food security. A win-win for all.