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Five flavours » Drinks and Snacks, Sri Lankan » What is a Woodapple?

What is a Woodapple?

The first time I heard the term ‘woodapple’ was when I was on a trip to Sri Lanka. My imagination had lots of fun with what a woodapple could possible look like and although I had the opportunity to have woodapple juice and woodapple shakes it seemed that I was going to traverse the entire island nation before I’d ever got a chance to see the original fruit. I’d just about given up when we decided on our last day to head over to a posh hotel that we’d heard had fancy tea and cakes that fell within our usual low budget.

Of course everything was laid out beautifully including the juice stall which had a rolling display of fruit that you could choose from. In amongst the fruit were three or four tennis ball sized items. These could be none other than, and the juice man confirmed that they were indeed, the legendary woodapples. Yep, they looked like they were made of wood.

Wood-apple_dec2007 by Wikimedia Commons

Also known as the elephant fruit, the woodapple can be found all over southern Asia, particularly India and Sri Lanka, but I wouldn’t say it’s especially common as compared with other fruits of the region. It’s used as a fruit in sweet things but also in savoury dishes like raita or chutneys before it is ripe enough to become sweet. It also has a long medicinal history.

The drink smells and tastes a little like strawberries and pears, although I’m not sure if it was mostly the grainy texture that made me think like this. The ones I had in Sri Lanka always had little bits in them that reminded my of woodchips albeit a bit more edible than that analogy might lead you to believe. The bottled one shown in the photo was purchased in a Sri Lankan shop* and had sugar, salt and milk powder added to it. It was quite sweet. I’d say to give it a go and if you ever come across the actual fruit, consider yourself lucky and dive right in.

*Serandib, 1246 Dominion Rd., Mt. Roskill, Auckland

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5 Responses to "What is a Woodapple?"

  1. Marie says:

    I’m glad you’ve found it interesting and thanks for stopping by:) Yes, mould in New Zealand…baaaaad!

  2. hellaD says:

    Great article! I had no idea about the woodapple! I think I may have seen it before, but not noticed it because I didn’t know what it was! BTW thanks for your comments on my website esp about the mold, it is so true, NZ needs to really pay more attention to this incredibly damaging health issue!

  3. Many thanks for your reply, Marie. I sure understand and will check these useful links the links

    Thank you
    Mustafa

  4. Marie says:

    Hi Mustafa

    Thanks for visiting my blog and thank you for your interest in New Zealand and Pocketcultures. It is not usual for me to give out my email to people I don’t know, as I’m sure you can understand, but I write about New Zealand at http://www.nileguide.com/destination/auckland and there is a lot of information there along with a blog. Also, for Pocketcultures there is a lot to read but the mission of the site is at http://pocketcultures.com/mission/ and, if you interested in writing with us check out this page http://pocketcultures.com/looking-for-regional-contributors/ .

    Thank you:-)
    Marie

  5. Hi Marie

    Thanks for adding a new info to my poor food knowledge. My name is Mustafa from Egypt. I learnt about you from PocketCulture. I am really interested to know some stuff about NZ and PocketCulture, can you please send me your email?

    Peace
    Mustafa

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