Ice apples or ‘thaati munjalu’ are flooding the Kadapa market
Come summer and toddy palm seeds, colloquially known as thaati munjalu and called ice apple in English, began making their presence in the Kadapa market.
The seeds of palmyra tree, that are firm translucent gel, crunchy and moderately sweet, with a pleasant sugar flavour, covered with a light brown fibrous outer skin, which is peeled off before eating, attracts the people of all ages. The pulpy seeds with sugary fluid and fleshy body, tasting akin to coconut, is considered to have a cooling effect and helps people bear the scorching summer.
Chennaiah and three of his aides are among over a couple of dozen ice-apple sellers spread over Kadapa city, who purchase them in orchards in Balaiahgaripale in Nandimandalam, about 40 km from Kadapa. “We pay Rs. 500 per palmyra tree to the plantation owner and climb the trees in the early hours to cut the palmyra fruits by ourselves,” Chennaiah, who is selling ice apples on Railway Station road told The Hindu.
The fruits are then transported in a van to Kadapa by paying a transport charge of Rs. 1,000, he added. The van owner unloads the specified number of bunches of palmyra fruit at different places along the roadside by 10 a.m. They spread the bunches and begin their business.
Using sickles, Chennaiah and his aides chop the palmyra fruits, which have three seeds each, and sell them to customers. They sell a dozen ice-apple at Rs. 40 and complete the sales by 2 p.m. and get back to their village. For nearly four to five hours, Chennaiah and three of his aides almost restlessly cut the fruits and put the seeds in a large basket, while another packs them in satchets and collects the money.
Pedestrians as well as motorists stop to purchase ice-apples and the rush is generally during lunch time. About half a dozen persons are selling already cut ice-apples at Seven Roads junction and few circles in Kadapa.