The bael fruit, aegle marmelos, is a baseball sized fruit related to citrus. It belongs to the Rutaceae family.
The bael fruit is native to Central and Southern India, Burma, Pakistan, and Bangladesh. It thrives in subtropical climates. The bael fruit looks like a large grapefruit. It has a pale green, hard and woody shell that turns bright yellow peel when ripe. When sliced in half around the middle, it contains 10 to 15 segments with numerous seeds. The flesh is a pale green, or a slight greenish yellow. The taste of the flesh is at first sweet, similar to a mild honey, but then gets irritating and acidic.
The leaves of the tree are poisonous. Ripe bael fruit are a digestive aid, and a laxative. Unripe, they cause diarrhea and dysentery. Bael fruit are rich in minerals and vitamins.
Bael fruit is commonly sliced in half and eaten with palm sugar. In India, the flowers are used as perfume.
Bael fruit are also known as beli fruit, Indian bael, wood apple, Bengal quince, and golden apple.
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