Malabar plum or Njaval – Awesome local fruit

We are on a one week road trip, currently visiting my wife’s home town, Thalassery.

Malabar plum (Java Plum, Portuguese Plum) is a common fruit tree in Kerala, locally known as Njaval or Njerka. When I was a kid we used to have Njaval trees everywhere including one in front of my home where I grew up. But these days Njaval trees are not as common as before in Kochi, may be an after effect of all the real estate developments taking place.

According to Wiki, Njaval is native to Indian subcontinent and was later introduced to South America and US during the British and Portuguese colonization.


Malabar Plum Tree


Malabar Plum (Njerka or Nherka, as it is known in the region) tree at my wife’s house. This tree was pruned last year and it is now working on getting its branches back on. 🙂

Back to Thalassery… It was pleasing to see plenty of Naval trees around here. Fortunately it is the fruiting season. When fully ripe, Njaval fruit is dark purple in color and very sweet and slightly sour in taste. Njaval trees grow very tall and live for more than a hundred years. Fruits are very delicate and so hard to harvest from the tall trees. Ground around Njaval trees have turned almost purple with the falling fruits. It will stay that way for a couple of weeks.


Malabar Plum / Java Plum / Portuguese Plum / Njaval / Njerka



Njaval Pazham – light purple inside


Njaval Pazham – looks like grape, but has a big seed inside

Here are some pictures of a Njaval tree at the backyard of my wife’s uncle’s house.


Njaval tree at Uncle Raees’ backyard / mini-farm


Njaval fruits on tree


Caught on net! Birds and squirrels had their share and left the seeds for us 🙂

As you can see, there is a net setup below the tree to collect falling fruits. This probably is the only practical way to harvest Njavel as the trees are too tall and it probably is easier I climb on the tree than finding labour these days 🙂

Over the last couple of days I ate as much Njaval fruits as I could eat. I am returning home thinking I should plant some Njaval trees where I can find space, so that my grand children can continue to enjoy these fruits like I do! 🙂

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