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Meva: Discovering The Tradition To Combine Dry Fruits In India
The ritual of dry fruit mixing has been a huge part of north Indian society during the winter season. When the soft winter sun fails to give sufficient warmth, a fistful of meva constantly works the trick.
The tradition of meva or blending a mixture of dry fruits has been going on since the period of the Mughals. As the tale is, Hamida, Humayun’s wife, introduced dried fruits into the royal kitchen during the budding phases of the 16th century. Over the years, eating dried fruits has become an important aspect of Indian cuisine.
The Winter Memories
Those from north India have nostalgic memories of basking in the faint winter sun on a charpai, with a pot of dry fruits.
“A fond memory of me growing up was when my mom would give me makhi, honey, and almonds which was a must every winter before I stepped out of my house for school in the morning.” said celebrity chef and cooking show host Rakhee Vaswani, advising dry fruit in the diet plan for kids.
Indrajit Chatterjee, a student, recollects how his grandfather used to do the stunt for him to eat walnuts. “This was in the nineties, we didn’t have any nut hacker tools, so he would place a whole walnut between the hinge of the door. With one slam, there will be a crackling noise, and out came kernels of walnuts, falling into his palms. It was a nice sight for five-year-olds, and I would wait for it every winter.”
The Regional Origins
Dried fruits are cultivated in several states in India and the majority are imported. The following are some of the vastly grown dry fruits you will locate across many states of the nation, each known by different names conforming to the place.
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Almonds/badam: The Kasmiri badam is one of Jammu and Kashmir’s highest-desired dry fruits.
Figs/anjeer/sukhe anjeer: Dried figs, as well as fresh ones, are chiefly grown in Gujarat, Maharashtra, Uttar Pradesh, Karnataka, and Tamil Nadu.
Apricot/khubani/lal khumani: Dried apricots are prominent in Ladakh, Uttarakhand, and Kashmir with the very famous red varieties based in Gulmarg.
Cashew/cashew nuts/kaju: Andhra Pradesh and Maharashtra are the greatest producers of cashew in India, followed by Odisha, while Goa is popular for its big-sized cashew nuts.
Raisins/kishmish/sultanas/kash/lal draksh: Punjab, Maharashtra, western Uttar Pradesh, Madhya Pradesh, and Rajasthan are the states where raisins are cultivated in India. The Nashik kishmish from Maharashtra are very well-known.
The Fruit Trails
A couple of decades ago, you must have seen the Kashmiri men moving around your neighborhood in pathani suits holding heavy bundles on their backs. Dried fruits from the region of the Chinar, but today you will rarely find them in any town. “We sell all specialty items of Kashmir like saffron, kahwa, honey, and dry fruits like almonds and walnuts,” said Muhib, who owns the popular Okhla outlet, The Kashmir Hub.Â
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According to a 2021 statement, about 85% of India’s dry fruits are imported from Afghanistan. Many shopkeepers in old Delhi’s Khari Baoli, India’s largest dry fruit market, import their stocks from Kabul. Dates, figs, almonds, walnuts, and pistachios are some of Kabul’s maximum imported dry fruits into India.
“Including dry fruits in your diet boosts your immune system, heart, and bone health,” said Dr. Saumya Roy, who serves at United Medicity in Prayagraj, adding, “It also gives you the necessary warmth during the harsh winter months.”
Even with transforming traditions, the advantages of meva are indisputable, which renders them a crucial part of winter nutrition. When the weak winter sun doesn’t provide decent warmth, a fistful of meva always achieves the trick.
A summary Of India’s Dry Fruit Export Business
Dry fruits, a powerful source of nutrients, and as the name indicates, have zero water content. Several kinds of dry fruits are available in our country, such as dates, raisins, apricots, cashew, almonds, and so on. Out of these only three are accessible in large quantities: Cashew nuts, Raisins, Almonds, etc.
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The states like Jammu and Kashmir, West Bengal, Karnataka, Maharashtra, Tamil Nadu, Himachal Pradesh, and Haryana are the primary producers of dry fruit in India. Dry fruits such as raisins, dates, cashew, apricots, and almonds, have sufficient demand in the overseas market.
India has been exporting high-quality dry fruit to more than 80 countries. In the current financial year, our country has gained around 4.63 million dollars from dry fruit export. In terms of size, the country has shipped around 183,30,310 metric tons of dry fruit to foreign destinations.
During the 2018 financial year, the amount of exported dry fruits existed at 9,15,180 metric tons. The numbers give the direction that India carries immense prospects for exporting dry fruits. The expanding figure would let more exporters join the board in the coming years.
Top Five Dry Fruits to consume during winters in India
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Dry fruits are the most healthy snacks compared to oily or fried ones and a terrific way to fulfill your midday hunger. Also, dry fruits empower you with much-required nutrients, vitamins, and warmth in the cold winter season. They surely are a fast and tasty way to get stamina while busy.
Without these super-healthy fares, no diet plan is perfect as they are loaded with several nutrients as well as necessary fats. Additionally, dry fruits have multiple skin benefits and thus establish a crucial ingredient in beauty products.
Following are the five dry fruits that should be integrated into your winter food plan:
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Almonds are recognized as the â€˜king of dry fruitsâ€™ as they contain vast amounts of essential fatty acids, fiber, and protein. They’re a huge natural source of zinc, selenium, and vitamin E. Almonds are also identified to support blood circulation, improve hemoglobin levels and reduce cholesterol levels and therefore, boosting the prevention of breast and lung cancer. Almonds are very satisfying and that’s why they’ve assumed the excellent snack item for your healthy nutrition plan.
Almonds, when tried in face packs, give your skin a glossy and bright look, during very rough winter days. Plus, they are utilized in several medicines.
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One of the healthiest nuts, walnuts include omega-3 fatty acids, which are extremely good for your hair, particularly when the climate is very dry. Walnuts assist in decreasing cholesterol levels, promote sleep, and are valuable for skin and hair. If you munch walnuts in winter, they retain the body warmth.
Walnuts also lead to healthy vitamins, minerals, and fiber, with many health gifts, like less inflammation, fewer gallbladder ailments, and improved bone health.
Figs are better called Anjeer in India. They have ample minerals, fiber, and vitamins. Anjeer is a big source of vitamin A, vitamin B1, vitamin B2, iron, manganese, sodium, chlorine, calcium, and phosphorus. Besides, figs are rich in potassium which works in regulating blood sugar.
These are wonderful for people with diabetic issues as they enable decreasing the dose of insulin needed by them. Figs are also employed in the treatment of several maladies like asthma, constipation, indigestion, bronchitis, and cough.
Cashew nuts aid in curbing cholesterol levels, and high blood pressure, prevent migraines, and if consumed in restraint support in losing weight. Cracked heels are a widespread problem confronted by many people during winter and so cashew nut oil comforts in nurturing their heels.
Cashew nuts are abundant in Vitamin E and have anti-aging properties that will keep your skin shining during the winter.
Pistachios are delicious green-colored nuts that are rich in vitamins and minerals like iron, copper, calcium, magnesium, potassium, and phosphorus. Plus, they contain a decent amount of Vitamin E and save your skin from UltraViolet rays that lead to skin cancer, and premature aging.
Pistachios are filled with antioxidants, avoiding aging by resisting free radicals. They’re the most distinct nut as they entail lutein, carotenoids, and zeaxanthin.
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Lastly, dry fruits enable dealing with much-endured difficulties like colds and flu. In India during the festivals particularly, dry fruits are devoured in various cuisines, both savory and sweet dishes. Therefore, eating dry fruits is a healthy habit. Be sure to grab a handful every winter, and in small amounts for the rest of the year.