Soh Janei

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Soh janei is a fruit that is about as large as an apple and contains round seeds the size of marbles. The fruit is green when unripe and yellow once mature. It grows on a large tree and is rubbery or chewy in consistency, with a very astringent and sour taste. The sourness of the fruits is so strong that some communities believe it can be used to remove poison in a human body, and so soh janei would be used to treat people with food poisoning. Many people, especially farmers who are working for many hours in the field, consume the fruits to stave off dehydration. Due to its extreme sourness communities often eat the fruits dried. They are preserved by being cut into quarters and left to dry, and in this state can be stored for years.  

Soh janei is a wild fruits found deep in the forests of the Ri Bhoi area of northeastern India. It is particularly found in moist areas near streams. Because it is harvested from the wild, and not cultivated, it is not sold commercially, but instead picked for personal consumption. Like many undervalued fruit trees in the area, the trunk of the tree is being utilized as a source of firewood or charcoal. Its sour flavor and the time and effort needed to dry the fruits for later consumption have discouraged people from cultivating it and commonly utilizing soh janei. Unless the trees are protected and the fruit promoted among younger generations, this part of the local food culture may be lost in the future. 

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