Breaking news has become viral in the entire Assam now that the consignment of Assam Gol Nemu/‘Kazi Nemu of approximately 6 metric tons (MT) was exported to London from Assam between December 2020 and January 2021.
Its really good news for Assam farmers and agripreneurs as ‘Kazi Nemu’, happened to be the most favorite ingredient in Assamese cuisine, has made its way to the markets of London in Great Britain.
This news has been confirmed by the Agricultural and Processed Food Products, Export Development Authority, which comes under the Ministry of Commerce.
You may be knowing, because of coronavirus pandemic, where immunity booster is a paraphrase being discussed everywhere to take control of the deadly virus and there comes the name “ Lemon” because lemon helps in immunity in addition to rich in Vitamin C.
For your information, Lemon (Citrus limon (L.)) is a species of fruit from the flowering plant family Rutaceae (citrus family) that originated from Asia. But now, lemon are grown commercially worldwide in tropical, semi-tropical and warm temperature countries. This fruit shares the same family as many other well-known fruits including oranges, grapefruit and limes.
The flavour of lemon can be described as being aromatic of rose, lavender and pine with a slight note of herbaceous. The compound which is important for producing lemon flavour is citral.
But Assam Lemon, widely known as Nemu Tenga in Assamese, are cultivars of lemon, namely ‘Gol Nemu’ and ‘Kaji Nemu’, which are found and cultivated in the Indian state of Assam. These lemons are an important part of Assamese cuisine. The botanical name of Assam Lemon is Citrus limon.
As we know, today lemon is now grown commercially worldwide in tropical, semi-tropical and warm temperature countries but what makes Assam Lemon Kaji nemu or Gol Nemu so special that required to be exported to London?
Located in North-East corner of India, popularly known as North East India, is reported to be the centre of origin of many Citrus species and Assam is the home to many exotic citrus fruits. One of the most common and popular citrus fruit found in this state is the Gol Nemu or Kaji nemu. It is popularised as Assam lemon.
Gol Nemu is similar to the other lemons found in India. It is round and large. It is sweeter than other lemons and Kaji Nemu. When the lemon ripes, its colour changes to yellow and it becomes sweeter.
Kaji Nemu is other variety of this lemon and is elongated and oblong. This lemon has more juice than Gol Nemu. It is popular in Assam and is associated with Assamese cuisine. It is as large as Gol Nemu and also turns yellow during ripening.
Gol Nemu is an indigenous lemon of Assam and it has certain uniqueness in terms of quality which is essentially attributable to its place of origin
This Assam Lemon known as Kaji Nemu is comparatively larger than the regular lemon. It has a tendency of cluster bearing habit which generally produces seedless fruits with 9-12 segments.
The major characteristics of ‘Kaji nemu’ are as follows.
Leaf: Division Simple Lamina Shape Elliptic, Ovate, Obovate and sometimes Lanceolate or Orbicular Leaf Length 7-10 cm Leaf Width 3-5 cm Margin Dentate, Sinuate, Crenate Petiole Wing Absent Leaf of ‘Kaji nemu’.
Fruit: Weight 60-100 g. Diameter 4.7-6.0 cm Length 6-11.5 cm Fruit volume 100-155 cc. Shape Long elliptic to oblong obovate Base Shape Necked, Convex, Truncate Apex Shape Mammiform,
Organoleptic properties of Citrus fruits depend on the characteristic flavour profile and taste. ‘Kaji nemu’ is sour in taste due to the organics acids present in juice predominantly citric acid with aroma mainly coming from peel in the form of essential oils. All the citrus fruits differ in their sensory qualities due to variations in acid content and essential oil composition.
Likewise, the taste and aroma of ‘Kaji Nemu differ from other citrus fruits like ‘Gul Nenu which are unique and the people of Assam have been experiencing and relishing it generation after generation.
Interestingly, the fruits of ‘Kaji Nemu are seedless which makes them unique from other lemon . Kaji nemu’ produces fruits all round the year.
It has a unique aroma of “Lemon”.
The uniqueness of the fruit lies in its bearing habit. Even if it gets ripened it doesn’t fall from the tree up to a very long period. Fruit are born in clusters on new shoots.
The variety ‘Kaji nemu’ has originated as a chance seedling raised in the citrus station, Burnihut from the progeny of variety collected under the name China-kaghi from the village Hashara, in the historical famous district of Sivasagar of Assam
This has been propagated by vegetative means as a clonal horticultural variety and named as ‘Kaji nemu’
Assam is rich in water resources and has vast tracts of fertile land. In most of the areas of Assam, the soil is loamy, fertile and vast biological diversity which is the best suited for the cultivation of ‘Kaji nemu’.
Loamy soil with uniform texture up to a depth of 3 m is ideal for cultivation. Therefore, this crop thrives well without much care. That’s why Kaji nemu thrives well in the humid subtropics of the region.
The highest flowering takes place in the spring (February – March), besides sparse flowering throughout the year. During this period, the minimum temperature of the state is 15-160C and maximum is 25-260C, which is ideal for flowering of ‘Kaji nemu’.
After that, the monsoon starts in the state which is essential for the setting of fruits. The temperature during growth of the fruit is 30oC to 35oC with 85 -90% humidity, which is very much conducive for the growth of the fruits as ‘Kaji nemu’ fruits require high temperature during the fruit development stage.
The unique characteristics of Kaji Nemu and its special packaging are registered under the Geographical Indication of Goods (Registration and Protection) Act, 1999. Facilitated by Assam Agricultural University, Jorhat, Assam -785013, Assam Lemon Kaji Nemu makes its long Journey to Al-Hamra Supermarket at Northampton in England‘s East Midlands region and European markets.
It is to be noted that ‘Kazi Nemu’ is utilized for preparing refreshing drinks and pickles as well as garnishing curry and other dishes
As far as food taste is concerned, just imagine a scene of what you can do with Lemon.
Squeeze it into soups, sauces and drinks. Toss it with salads, vegetables and pasta. Rub it onto pork, chicken and fish. Bake it into cakes, muffins and snacks. And add it to anything and everything containing mayonnaise.
With Assam Lemon kaji Nemu, let us go for a visualisation journey.
Take a deep breath and close your eyes. Imagine, you are in the kitchen with a sharp kitchen knife in your hand. Imagine a cutting board on the kitchen slab. Return the lemon back to the cutting board, and carefully pick up the knife in your dominant hand. Holding the lemon steady with your other hand, cut the lemon in half.
As you do this, you’re feeling the knife slicing through the fruit, and it falls open revealing beautiful jewel-like pulp in neat rows. Imagine, you can see the fresh white pulp and perhaps some seeds inside. Drops of juice have spilled onto the cutting board. Now take one half of the lemon and cut it again, making a quarter-size slice. Put the knife down, and bring the lemon quarter up to your nose.
You are aware of the sharp, fresh citrus scent filling your nose. Touch the lemon to your lips, noticing the sensations. Now, open your mouth.
Are you salivating?
That’s the secret of Assam Lemon Kaji nemu!
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