Friday, October 25, 2013



QUINCE OR BUMM-TSOONTH ( as it is known on Kashmiri )

First time I enjoyed an extravagant kashmiri Wazwaan feast  was in some family function of  late Sher Ali ( Connected with the then   firms  :Ali Art Palace and M Sadak Ali and Bothers  ) . We were served Wazwaan dishes  in separate plates . Late Sher Ali was exporter of kashmir Handicrafts ( Carpets , Rugs , Papier Mache , Chain stitch and Jewellery )  with business interests in Kashmir and  Mumbai . He dressed well and would move in a chauffer driven car  . Possibly he had no child and lived in a  joint family with his nephews  who gave him lot of respect and regard . Sher Ali  was compassionate , liberal  and helpful.. He  smoked branded imported cigarettes . Peace be to his soul.

It was only during  Sher Ali’s feast that I tasted  a small quantity of the wonderful  QUINCE  dish prepared by a  Muslim Wazwaan  cooks. It was   served last of all. I asked  for more .My mother also prepared BUMM-TSOONTH  ( Quince ) with Brinjals . So do all kashmiris .  And from ancient past   to this day,  Kashmiris never discarded BUMM -TSOONTH as a medicinal fruit or  cooking it as a dish of choice..

A vegetable Wholesale trader in Narwal Vegetable Mandi of Jammu informed me

“ I do not know how kashmiri Pandits prepare it. This Mandi receives around 2 to  3 Tonnes of Quince per day during the season  from various sources and all is bought by city’s retail  vegetable  sellers . There is a acute demand during Pitra Paksha  ( Shradaas ) falling after summer season . Kashmiri Pandits appear to be consuming it altogether  in Jammu. ”

QUINCE OR  BUMM-TSOONTH   ( as it is known on Kashmiri ) is cultivated in Iran, Turkey , Portugal, Argentina, Chile, Mexico, Spain,  USA ,   France , UK   Middle East, Armenia, Georgia and   various countries  other of Central Asia  and Europe . The QUINCE tree grows to a height of 5 to 7 Metres and the fruit when unripe is green like a pear but changes its colour to Golden yellow on ripening. The blossoming tree gives beautiful light  pink flowers . In India the fruit the seeds of the fruit known as Bihee -Daana were used as medicine by Unani and   Ayurveda  doctors .   Iranians call it BEIH and the word BIHEE  is possibly of Iranian origin.

 In Kashmir ,dry quince  seeds were dipped in water overnight  and the gel that formed was  consumed   as a  time tested  laxative .

A high pectin level also makes it useful for making Jams , sauces   and  Jellys . In Europe  it is also used in making puddings after being Roastd , baked or stewed . Some countries in Europe use QUINCE for making BRANDY and  WINE.  In some central Asian countries it is also used for making  PULLAV or PICKLED .

 It has now  been  scientifically established that consumption of this  fruit is beneficial to health on account of the fact that the fruit contains  dietary fiber, minerals, and vitamins and is quite low in Calories . Further the catechin and epicatechin present in this fruit  bind to cancer-causing toxins thereby protecting colon and  its mucous membrane from inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) and   cancers .  Hakeems would prescribe its consumption for all diseases of COLON and skin Allergies . Apart from this , the fruit also contains  iron, potassium, and magnesium as well as B-complex vitamins such as thiamin, riboflavin and pyridoxine .

Was QUINCE  the forbidden fruit that was eaten in the Garden of Eden by Adam and Eve ? Some historians believe in the affirmative. This fruit finds mention in  old  Greek literature  as well. Ancient Greeks considered quinces to be the symbol of fertility and dedicated them to APHRODITE  or   the goddess of love.

I had to tell more about Quince but as per  Firaq Gorakhpuri

Ab Aa Gayein Hain Aap To Aataa Nahin Khayaal
Varnaa hamein kuchh Aap se kehnaa zaroor Thaa..

( Autar Mota 25.10.2013 )

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