White jamun is also known as rose apple and bell fruit and is not so well-known in India
Come summers and Indian grocery stores and the local fruit-vendor stalls are filled with seasonal goodness from a variety of fruits and berries. There’s the bright red of watermelons and cherries, the bright yellow of mangoes and sun melons, the greens from pears and grapes and the purplish black from jamuns. The tangy jamuns are perhaps the most celebrated desi summer fruits of all, second only after a whole range of mangoes that flood the markets. Jamuns are available for a very short period of time during the year and they’re the best when consumed during peak summers. Also known as java plums, these purple fruits are turned into chutneys and dips, added to desserts and ice-creams and also added to drinks like lassis and other summer coolers. But have you heard of white jamun or safed jamun?
The elusive fruit is not very widely available in India and hence, isn’t as much in the limelight as its purple cousin. Safed jamun is better known by a plethora of English names including wax apple, love apple, java apple, Semarang rose-apple and wax jambu. It is also known as bell fruit because of its bell-like shape, and water apple. The fruit comes from the plant Syzygium samarangense, which is native to only certain areas, including Andman and Nicobar islands. The fruit has a pinkish tinge on the outside with a waxy pulp on the inside and is known as rose apple, due to the subtle flavour of rose petals in its pulp. The fruit is said to be mostly used in preparing salads. The raw white jamuns may be used in making vinegar and wine due to its tangy and dry taste.