Untapped Potential of Underutilized Fruits in India


Sindumathi Gurusamy1, AkalyaShanmugam1,2,*, Vadakkepulppara Ramachandran Nair Sinija1,2



In India's different agro-ecologicalzones and altitudes, the world's most beneficial plants thrive. The country'svaried climatic conditions provide an ideal environment for growing a widerange of fruits. This has limited the possibility for the expansion of otherminor fruits, despite the fact that they are nutritious and the poor's majorsource of income. Fruits are currently regarded as a significant commercialitem due to their tremendous market potential. Most of the tropical fruits thatare underutilised are only available in local marketplaces and are almostunknown in other parts of the world. Many of these fruits can thrive in harshenvironments and are also known for their medicinal and nutritive worth,allowing them to meet the needs of health-conscious consumers. However, due totheir acidic nature and astringent taste, some of these fruits are not sold inthe market. Furthermore, because wild fruits contain high levels of undesirableelements such as tannins and glycosides, many individuals prefer a fruit with apleasant taste. Native fruits are neither huge or plump, and they have a lot ofseeds. Fruits are also perishable and difficult to keep in their natural state.The majority of wild fruits are difficult to handle and consume. Adding valueto underutilised fruits and developing popular products from them would be aperfect method to successfully introduce them into the consumer market. As aresult, there is a need for less-known/under-utilized fruit species withcommercial potential that have yet to be exploited to their full potential. Toa degree, this can be accomplished by creating appropriate processing andmarketing techniques for these underutilised fruits. Aside from theirnutritional worth and potential as a source of money, the diversity of thesefruits has cultural and social significance, as well as contributing to ecologicalstability. Aonla, bael, jamun, karonda, passion fruit, phalsa, tamarind, woodapple, and other underused fruits are the main sources of livelihood for thepoor and play a significant part in alleviating malnutrition.



Thejamun is an evergreen tree native to India that grows to be quite tall.Windbreak and roadside plantations are ideal for this tree. The tree can befound in Thailand, the Philippines, Israel, Algeria, Madagascar, and the WestIndies, among other placesIt can be found all over India, although there is nosystematic fruit production in the country. The jamun is a member of theMyrtaceae family. Jamun is n't being cultivated in any enhanced varieties. 'RaJamun' is the most frequent variant in North India. It produces large, oblongfruits that range in colour from deep purple to bluish black. The fruit ripensin June-July and is delicious with a little stone. The fruit has a high marketvalue, but it is currently underutilised due to its scarcity and perishability.It is a good source of iron (1-2 mg per 100 gram) and vitamin C, and it canhelp with heart and liver problems. Jamun fruit is also high in glucose andfructose, the two main sugars found in mature fruit, as well as minerals, whichsupply more calories than other fruits. Protein, carbohydrate, calcium, iron,vitamin C, folate, vitamin B, carotene, photo chemicals (purple pigmentanthocyanin), magnesium, potassium, and fibre are all present in the Jamunseed. The seeds include a kind of glucose called Jamboline, which inhibits theconversion of starch to sugar in cases of elevated glucose synthesis, whichleads to high blood sugar levels.  Jamunfruits can be made into high-quality products such vinegar, cider, squash,non-fermented ready-to-drink beverages, jam and jamun seed powder. The presenceof anthocyanin pigment in the Jamun pulp is responsible for the colour of theJamun pulp, which gives the beverages made from Jamun a pleasing appearance.


Jamun Ready – To- Serve Beverage

Themost popular bottled products are ready-to-serve beverages, which include atleast 10% fruit juice and 10% total soluble solids. FSSAI specification: Pulp - 10%; Total soluble solids (TSS) - 10 to15 ºbrix; Acidity - 0.3 – 0.5% . Ingredients:Jamun juice - 1 litre; Sugar - 600g; Water - 2.5 litre; Citric acid - 5 g


Ø  Select goodquality of jamun.

Ø  Wash the fruitsin running tap water.

Ø  Remove seed manuallyand separate pulp.

Ø  Extract the pulpthrough fruit pulper and mixie.

Ø  For preparingthe syrup. Heat sugar, water and citric acid till sugar dissolves.

Ø  Filter and coolthe sugar syrup and add to the juice then mix well together.

Ø  Add sodiumbenzoate as preservative.

Ø  Heat the juiceat 82-88o C for 20 minutes.

Ø  Fill intosterilized glass bottles and crown corked.

Ø  Pasteurize theRTS bottle about 90°C for 25 minutes.

Ø  Allow it coolfor some time and Store it in room or refrigerated temperature.


Jamun Jam

Sugarwas cooked with Jamun pulp to make Jamun jam. To enhance the shelf life of thecreated produce, citric acid and sodium benzoate were added as preservatives. FSSAI specification: Fruit pulp - 45%;TSS - 68.5 ºbrix. Ingredients: Fruitpulp - 1.0 kg; Sugar - 0.75 kg; Citric acid - 0.3 %; Preservative - 40 ppm ofSO2 (or) 200 ppm of benzoic acid (for commercial and long time storage)



Ø Select soundgood matured jamun fruits.

Ø Wash the fruitsto remove dust and dirt.

Ø After washing theJamun fruits were boiled in water (1:1) ratio. This was responsible forsoftening of the pulp. 

Ø The pulp wasmade into fine soft pulp by using mixer grinder and remove seeds manually. Thecooked Jamun were made into fine pulp by mashing and the seed was removedmanually.

Ø Take the pulpand sugar (required amount) in a vessel heat it over fire by stirringcontinuously, while heating add citric acid into it.

Ø Boil it well tillthe final TSS reaches 68.50bx.

Ø Remove from fireand allow it to cool to room temperature and then add sodium benzoate aspreservative.

Ø Pack it insterilized bottle and cover it with airtight cover.

Ø Label it withsuitable information.

Ø Jamun Fruits arealso used for mixed fruit jam along with guava, mango, pineapple, grapes,banana, papaya, sapota and apple.


Wood apple/KathBel  (Limoniaacidissimia L.)

Thewood apple Swingle (Limonia acidissimia L.) is the only species of the genusLimonia in the Rutaceae family. In India, it is known as elephant apple, monkeyfruit, kathbel, and various dialectal names in addition to wood apple. Kotha,Vila, Vilanga, Kapith, and Vela marum are some other Indian names. The fruit isa hard-shelled, many-seeded berry with a pinkish brown aromatic sour – sweetpulp with seeds imbedded in it. It's a good tree for growing in a wasteland. The acid, minerals, and pectin contentof wood apple are all high. Wood apple pulp has a moisture content of 74percent and a carbohydrate content of 7.45 percent. Calcium, phosphorus, iron,and vitamins like as carotene, riboflavin, niacin, thiamine, and vitamin C areall abundant in the pulp. Because the wood apple is such an under-appreciatedfruit, it can be kept as a processed product and used throughout theoff-season. Wood apples can be made into high-value items such as jam, fruitbars and can be made into drinks, preserves, candies, squash, toffee, slabs,pulp powder, and nectar, among other things. When combined with other fruits,wood apple juice makes a great beverage.


Wood apple fruit bar

Fruitbar/toffee, according to the FSSAI, is a product made by combining pulp/pureefrom sound ripe fruit, fresh or previously preserved, nutritive sweeteners,butter or other edible vegetable fat or milk solids, and other ingredientsappropriate to the product, then dehydrating the mixture to form a sheet thatcan be cut to desired shape or size.Fruit bars are a healthy snack that have achewy feel similar to dried raisins and are high in dietary fibre and naturalsugar. As a result, the decision was made to prepare the two items. Fruit thathas enough amounts of pectin can be used to make high-quality jam, jelly, andfruit bars. FSSAI Specification for woodapple bar: Moisture - Not more than 70.0 per cent; TSS             - Not less than 75%; Fat content - Notless than 25.0 per cent. Ingredients: Woodapple pulp - 500g; Sugar - 1.2kg; Milk power - 100g; Hydrogenated fat - 50g; Citricacid - 5 g; Salt - 2 g



Selection of theWood Apple

Hard-shelledripe wood apple ("Limonia acidissima") with soft, meaty, yellowishedible pulp. The wood apples were procured and stored in a jute bag at roomtemperature until they were employed in product development.


Pre-Preparationof the Selected Wood Apple

Toacquire the best quality of fruit, sorting and grading is required, which isdone by hand. The fruits were washed first to remove any dirt. Soundness,firmness, cleanliness, size, maturity, weight, colour, form, and independencefrom foreign materials, insect damage, and mechanical harm were used to gradethe fruit.



Ø From the gradedwood apple the pulp was extracted manually. It was homogenized in a mixer toobtain fine pulp.

Ø Then add sugar,and hydrogenated fat to the pulp and cook in a heavy kadai stirring constantly.

Ø Then prepare athick paste of the milk powder and add to the mixture. If condensed milk isused it can be added direct to the mixture without diluting.

Ø Then add citricacid and salt.

Ø When it reachessoft ball consistency (115°C) forms a soft ball in the water.

Ø Cook it until itleaves the sides of the vessel (132-143°C). If desired, suitable color andessence may be used.

Ø Remove from fireand transfer on a greased tray. Garnish with cashew nuts and raisins.

Ø Allow this toset and then cut into desired sizes and shapes, wrap in butter/oil paper andstore in air tight containers.


Wood apple nectar

Woodapple beverages are strong in nutrients and have actual therapeutic value, andthey have a lot of potential to become a popular, high-quality beverage ofcommercial interest in the rising beverage market. Total soluble solids andacidity already existing in the juice/pulp are first determined in themanufacturing of nectar according to specifications, and then the remainingamount of sugar and citric acid is added for proper adjustment. Before serving,no dilution is required for nectar. Except for changes in specification processremains the same as ready-to-serve beverages. FSSAI Specification: Pulp/juice - 20%; TSS           - 15%; Acidity            -0.3%



Most small fruits are high innutritional and therapeutic value and can be produced without much care even inwastelands. As a result, it is worthwhile to investigate the coordinatedcultivation and enhancement of minor groups of crops such as jamun, wood apple andso on, in order to maximise their usage. Because these underutilised fruitcrops are seasonal, becoming totally reliant on them could result in inputconstraints. Consumers are continually looking for novel, delicious,nutritious, and appealing food products. To meet this demand, a steady effortis made to develop items from a variety of sources. Fruits that arenutrient-dense but also less expensive must be treated well in order to developnew treatments for malnutrition in the country. It reflects the likelihood ofsuccess.

Author’s Bio

1Food Processing Business Incubation Centre, NationalInstitute of Food Technology, Entrepreneurship and Management - Thanjavur,India

2Centre of Excellence in Non Thermal Processing, NationalInstitute of Food Technology, Entrepreneurship and Management - Thanjavur,India

*CorrespondingAuthor: Email Address: akalya@iifpt.edu.in (A. Shanmugam)