Okay so its not really Aamla Juice. Its a concentrate that makes Aamla juice when added with water. I just wanted the title to sound a bit ‘newspaperish’.
My family surprise-visited me on my birthday, and that was all I have wanted this year, as it was going to be my first birthday away from family, friends and my hometown, after I got married. It was one of the best surprises I’ve ever gotten and to add to it, my grandma decided to stay back for a couple of weeks. I couldn’t be more happy.
There and then I decided to completely let my Aaji supervise over me in the kitchen. This was a better way than having to keep asking her cooking related questions on the phone over the pettiest of issues.
My sweet mother is so organised, she knew I would want to make this juice as soon as she had earlier informed me on the phone that fresh Aamla fruits had hit the market, that she got with her a fresh, handpicked stock of the fruit. Just because. Just so that I would not have to go through the trouble of picking out the fruits and worrying about if I’ve picked the right ones. Ah, mothers!
Aamla is an amazing fruit. Apparently its called Indian Gooseberry, and the name kind of takes the charm out of it. Anywho, its very difficult to eat this fruit directly as its unbearably sour, but the juice on the other hand is yummy yum yum. Plus its full of anti-oxidants, vitamin C and calcium and lots of other things that I don’t remember.
So I decided to make my grandma make it for me. Here’s how she did it…
What she gathered:
1 kg Aamla fruits – fresh, slightly green-yellowish and big juicy ones.
3 cups sugar
5-6 medium size, ripe lemons
About a handful of ginger, washed thoroughly and peeled
1 tbsp salt
How she put it together:
Firstly she washed and cleaned them and wiped them off roughly with a towel.
Then she cut them and separated the pulp, by removing the seeds. This is a bit time consuming, boring and difficult. Do make sure to be careful with sharp knives as they might slip off the perfectly round and hard berries and hurt your hands.
If you are a recycler, you would probably want to save those seeds for later. I will tell you what to do with them.
She chose a big pan from and tied a clean muslin cloth to it. This was to strain the berry pulp.
Then she peeled the ginger and added it to the grinder along with the Aamla.
Oh by the way, I use these peels in my chai. But I have to make sure all the mud has been removed while washing the ginger.
She then ground the hard pulp from the berries to a paste, first without adding water.
After having ground the Aamla to a slightly coarse paste, she added some water (not too much) and continued to grind the it further.
After having obtained a fairly smooth paste, she poured it on to the muslin covered pan and squeezed all the juice out of it.
This is how it looks after having squeezed all the juice out. Save this as well for later. I will tell you at the end of the article what to do with these leftovers.
Meanwhile she measured 6 bowls of sugar.
Mothers and grandmothers never required measurements charts and weighing scales or measuring cups. They did everything in approximation and everything turned out perfect. But we’re beginners. So I would say this bowl is approx. half a cup. That means she added around 3 cups of sugar to a pan and filled it with water until the sugar was all drowned and a little bit more.
She put it on the stove and kept stirring until the sugar dissolved and poured the extracted aamla + ginger concoction into the sugar syrup.
Then she freshly squeezed the juice out of the lemons and added it to the mixture.
And I decided to save and reuse these lemon peels too.
Meanwhile Aaji topped the syrup with a bit of salt and viola!
After the syrup cooled down entirely, she poured it into a glass bottle.
And that’s that. This syrup stays for a month. Although it’s so refreshing and yummy, it won’t last that long.
I add one part syrup and two parts water. I like a concentrated version. Some like a diluted version of it, which means more water can be added.
What she says:
Nothing. She made it with love and waited for me to have it.
I say go make it. It’s delicious. It has health benefits. It’s perfect after having spent the entire day in the scorching sun. I also think the whole sugar syrup process can be dropped and a sugarless juice can be prepared and stored. Honey can be added to it at the time of consumption. Although this version would require to be finished as fast as possible.
Now for the Aamla remnants, lemon peels I had saved. I dried them in the evening (as the rays are not very harsh) and stored them all in an airtight bag.
To this I’m going to add Sheekakaai and Reetha to make a mixture which I can then store and use as hair rinse.
Just add the mixture to boiling water, strain it and rinse your hair with it. Works like magic! Grandma’s promise.
If I get time later, I will try and write a post about this hair rinse and link it here.
I will go have the juice now. Ciaos!