Hailing from Citrus family, Citron aka Narthangai gains utmost importance for its immense medicinal value.
Narthangai has nice aroma with strong sour taste. You wouldn't be surprised if you see many Narthangai trees of more than 100 years old. The fruits, flowers, roots and leaves are used both in cuisine as well as for medicinal purpose. The unripe variety of citron have green outer skin where as the ripe one will change to yellow skin.
5 facts about Citron/Narthangai/bitter orange that probably you don't know:
1) Remember your childhood days when you feel like vomiting your mom would give you a piece of Narthangai/Citron pickle to chew???? Yes, citron removes bitterness in tongue and also enhances the digestion process. This is the secret behind your mom offering you uppu narthangai.
2) Squeeze out the juice from ripe citron/Narthampazham, add few palm candies and dilute this concentrate with enough water to make Narthangai juice. If you consume this juice regularly, it improves body's immunity. After recovering from any disease, you might feel weak and to improve your overall health this juice really helps.
3) Even the leaves of Citron are used in South Indian cuisine. They are used to prepare no oil pickle which goes well with your curd rice. Nartha illai podi and Veppilai katti are famous recipes prepared using the tender leaves of Narthangai/Citron tree leaves. This no oil pickle is so good for weight watchers and for those who are restricted to consume less oil diet .
4) Both the unripe and ripe variety of Narthangai is good for your blood. Yes, it removes impurities from the blood. They are good for your stomach too as they help to heal your stomach ulcer.
5) Narthangai is safe to consume during pregnancy, in fact pregnant ladies can drink narthangai juice along with honey regularly to have a normal delivery. Even the first few months nausea and vomiting can be controlled by chewing few dry narthangai pickles.
By this time you would have got amazed with the health benefits of this simple garden tree and would love to explore recipes prepared with Narthangai. Here I am with few recipes using Narthangai and its leaves
1) Narthangai Sweet Pachadi
2) Nartha ilai podi
3) Narthangai Rasam