As a kid, I always believed my grandfather loved the fruit “Ramphal” because they shared a connection to “Ram” through their name. Legend states this fruit was consumed by Lord Ram and that is how it got its name.
I grew up listening to stories about this fruit and that it was way better, tastier, and healthier than the easily available custard apple ( which btw, belongs to the same family). It was only years later when my parents bought a new home in Kokan that I saw the fruit. My dad proudly showed off his Ramphal tree in his backyard and gave me the honor of actually plucking my fruit while teaching me about judging the fruit for ripeness.
Nona, Netted Custard Apple, Bullock’s heart, Bull’s heart, Lavani, Krishnabija.
“Ramphal” is the size of an adult fist ( 7-10cm approx) with pink-reddish-brown fruit skin. It’s probably because of the way it looks, this fruit is called bulls heart fruit but in India, it is commonly called “Ramphal“.
On the inside, it has a rich, creamy white-off-white flesh with very few seeds as compared to a custard apple.
Though not native to India, it grows and is easily available in the regions of Assam, West Bengal, Gujarat, and Maharashtra. March to May is the period for this fruit but someplace they grow through the year and hence are available all year round.
As compared to custard apple, this fruit is barely sweet to taste and has a smooth, creamy yet granular texture.
The unripe fruits are somewhat hard and pale with smooth peel while the ripe ones are slightly soft and have a deeper peel color with hints of black.
Nutritionally speaking this fruit is a rich source of fiber, iron, vitamins B6, C, potassium, and many other micronutrients thus making it great for skin, hair, immunity, fighting inflammation, etc. It also is great for those watching their weight or battling erratic blood sugars.
Apart from the fruit, the seeds, bark, and leaves have many medicinal and health benefits too.
The creamy buttery texture of this fruit makes it great for making custards, milkshakes, smoothies, ice cream, and other desserts.
Next time you see the Ramphal in a local market, make sure you try this wild fruit which resembles a custard apple but is so different, and remember, many fruits in India are commonly known/sold as “Ramphal”. So make sure you pick the right one and along with it try Khirni too.