Yesterday, I encountered a kind of jam that I’d never seen before—rhododendron jam. I’ve been thinking that I should write more about India’s indigenous foods, since there is such a wonderful variety, and this has inspired me to get on with it. The food is certainly high on most people’s list of things to enjoy about India.
While it’s true that most rhododendrons are poisonous, the red Himalayan ones aren’t. In fact, they taste great and are good for you, besides. It’s hard describe the taste, though. It resemblies berry jam, but it has a delightful flavor all its own.
This particular jam, which is really delicious, is made by a company called Himalayan Fresh. It’s even certified organic, although since rhododendrons grow wild all over the Himalayas without any intervention from humans, it would probably be organic by default anyway. Rhododendron squash is a popular drink in India, especially in the spring, and this company also sells the concentrate to make it.
It’s great on toast and pancakes, of course, but try some on a buttered chapati for a change. It’s also delicious mixed with yogurt. And you may want to try making some rhododendron lassi with the squash concentrate—I’ve never seen it on any Indian menu, but it should be!