Gooseberry Warriors

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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Non-Fiction  |  House: Booksie Classic
Gooseberry pickles is very popular in South India. To protect the berries from theives, the farmers hire a special group of women Gooseberry warriors.

Submitted: July 03, 2012

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Submitted: July 03, 2012



Gooseberry Warriors

Subba Rao


Gooseberries grow all over the world with distinctly different flavor depending on geographic location. Indian Gooseberry comes in various sizes and colors. It has a long history going back to thousands of years when sages used as an all-purpose cure and that was how Indian Gooseberry became a bellwether medicinal plant. When ripe, the berries turn light greenish white to yellow and taste sweet and sour with slight bitterness.

Gooseberries were valued for its taste as a pickle. Gooseberries pickled in salty vinegar and hot sauce sells like crazy in Southern India. No doubt Gooseberry pickle is a big business and the demand for fresh Gooseberries is enormous.

The berries hang loose in large bunches from the stem and tree branches like grapes. With a shake, the berries easily drop off to the ground, that’s all it takes to harvest the fruit, but that’s the problem also for the owners of the Gooseberry farms, it is easy to steal the berries just by shaking few branches and collect the fruits in a hurry.  During the harvest season, the farm owners hire women, a special kind of women cut out to do sentry work to guard the trees from the Gooseberry thieves. The women, foul mouthed and rowdy can rough up men twice their size by pulling hair and split open their mouth to spit. Anybody who tries to steal Gooseberries would find themselves in a pickle in the hands of tobacco smoking legendary Gooseberry warriors. Since the urban sprawl took over the old Gooseberry farms, the women minding the Gooseberry trees during harvest went back full time selling fruits and vegetables at daily markets, where no customer dare bargain with them fearing verbal assault.

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