Beedana (Cydonia oblonga M.,), more commonly known as quince is an edible fruit found in abundance in the Kullu region of Himachal Pradesh. This indigenous fruit is revered by locals for its medicinal, healing and nutritional properties and used to treat several ailments like cancer, diabetes, ulcers and respiratory infections to mention a few.
Beedana resembles a pear and is harder in texture. It is mainly used to make pickles and jams. Beedana is plucked carefully, washed thoroughly, deseeded, cut into big pieces and boiled till it becomes soft.
It is then left in the sun to dry for a little while. The dried beedana pieces are mixed with lightly roasted fenugreek powder, turmeric powder, red chilli powder, salt, roasted black mustard powder and mustard oil. It is important to coat the pieces generously with the oil and spices. Sometimes, fennel seeds are coarsely grounded and added to this along with carom seeds.
It is put either into an earthen jar or ceramic pot that has been previously coated with mustard oil. The container is sealed and allowed to ferment in the sun. This pickle when ready has the right amount of acidity and hotness and best enjoyed with the local delicacies.
Written by Lakshmi Subramanian