Makhana is one of the most underrated food items in the world. Because of its numerous health benefits and utilization in several diseases, it has been termed as “Makhana Superfood”.
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English Name of Makhana/Other Names of Makhana in English
Makhana is known through different names across the world. Some of them are-
- Lotus Seed
- Gorgon Nut
Other names of Makhana-
Superfood, God Food, Makhan Lawa, Organic Food etc.
Botanical Name– Euryale Ferox
Origin Of “Makhana Superfood”
Makhana has been a native of India for a long time. We find its evidence and presence in the Ayurveda too. But it is also cultivated in China ( for over 3000 years ), Japan and Russia.
You would be surprised to know that over 88 % of the world’s Makhana production is carried out in Bihar, an Indian State. Due to this, the Indian government wants to promote it under the Vocal for Local campaign and is set to get the GI TAG for it.
Makhana Calories and Nutrition
|~ 0 ( non fried/non-spiced )
Production of Makhana
Places of Production
Makhana is produced on a large scale on around 100000 hectares in Bihar as a Cash Crop mainly in “Mithilanchal” Area. It includes the districts-
- Outer Darbhanga
Although few more states like Gujarat, Rajasthan and Jammu Kashmir are working on the cultivation of Lotus Seeds, that is budding as of now.
Makhana is produced from the cultivation of Euryale Ferox “Salisb” plant. It is a leafy plant which floats on the water just like “Pani Phal” and “Lotus Plant”.
The length of the leaves can be over 3 feet wide.
These plants can only be cultivated in Lowland Ponds having depth around 4 to 5 feet. In some places, new techniques have been developed to grow it in fields too.
Makhana is germinated in the flowering part of these leaves. The flowers are bluish/ Purple and look similar to the lotus.
Harvest and Collection of seeds
Since the plant is grown in ponds, people need to get inside the water to collect the seeds. Few people are assigned for the task who are trained enough to be in the water for a few minutes without breathing.
It is a very tricky task to collect the seed.
The seeds which are lying down on the pond’s bottom surface need to be gathered. For this, a large stick ( Mainly Bamboo ) is used to sweep a large area. This helps in piling the bottom mud surface of the pond.
The heap of mud is then screened with the help of a Bamboo Filter.
Washing and Drying
These seeds are then washed and dried under natural Sun’s heat to reduce the water content of the topmost layer.
Since every seed has a different moisture absorption ratio and development, the size varies after the drying. Thus, again sieving is done to grade the sizes and store them accordingly for maximum 20-30 days.
Final Processing of Makhana Seeds
These store seeds are heated in the traditional earthen pots. This helps in making the topmost surface loosen a bit.
The next stage of processing needs massive care and is very tuff to process. The process involves stirring the already heated seeds on the cast iron ( Lohe ki Kadai ) over a very high temperature (direct fire).
Suddenly after the crackling sound, the seeds are taken out and placed on a rigid place and beaten hard. Due to the presence of heat and excessive pressure exerted, Makhana comes out popping.
Final cultivation extraction-
The extraction and Collection of the final product, i.e. Makhana is only 1/3rd of the whole production.
The final product is then again rubbed to create a shine on them.
The final product is termed as Makhana Puffs, Makhana Pops or Makhana Ka Lawa.
Key Points to take from the cultivation of FoxNut
- There is no use of Fertilizers or any type of chemicals in the whole process of cultivation of Makhana. Hence, it is a 100% Organic product.
- Makhana needs a lowland pond having hot summers and cold winters for complete development of seeds.
- Production of Makhana requires skilled labours and a lot of technicalities.
- Bihar is the leading producer of Makhana in all over the world.
Uses of Makhana
- Makhana is consumed as snacks after frying or roasting.
- It is offered to gods in prayers, festivals, and auspicious occasions. Thus, it is also called God’s food.
- People consume it while fasting in its original form ( without flavour, roasting, frying or spices).
- Many Indian recipes require Makhana as their Key ingredient.
Benefits of Makhana
- Suitable for Diabetic People– Makhana has a very low Glycemic Index. Thus, it is ideal for people having diabetes.
- Anti-ageing– It acts as anti-ageing as it has abundant antioxidants.
- Help in curing Fertility Issues as it is an aphrodisiac.
- For weight Loss– Makhana has Potassium and Magnesium in abundance but low in sodium. In totality, it is low in calorie count. These factors make it useful food in weight loss.
- For Weight Gain– Surprised, right !! Yes, Makhana if consumed with milk or in the fried state regularly can help in weight gain also. Thus, consume it according to the need whether you want to lose or gain weight.
- It is helpful in High Blood Pressure and Heart diseases.
- Fox Nuts help in easing the inflammation and kidney issues, according to Ayurveda.
- They also act as antibacterial and detoxifier. Thus, it helps in removing the non-essential toxins from the body.
- If you suffer a lot of imbalance in bowel movement, consuming Makhana regularly can help you a lot as it is high in soluble fibres.
- Makhana is high in protein; hence it aids in Muscle Building.
Price of Makhana Superfood
Makhana has a very variable cost in the market. It varies from one brand to another.
Its cost starts from 650/kg to 1200/kg ( Prices vary according to the wholesale and retail demands ).
Where to buy Makhana from
Well Makhana Superfood can be bought from local grocery stores as well as from online e-retailers. If you further need to buy Makhana Superfood, follow the links below –
Makhana has been an essential item in the kitchen as many recipes require it as a key ingredient. Some of the food items prepared from Makhana are-
- Makhana Kheer
- Gorgon Nut Laddu
- Makhane ki Sabji
- Makhana Chaat etc.
You could find all the recipes on Youtube.
Due to its enormous advantages, Makhana has been termed as a Superfood, and that is completely justified. Even the dry fruits like Cashew Nuts ( Kaju ) have many drawbacks, but FoxNut doesn’t have any such drawbacks.
We must work ahead and promote Makhana at ground level as it has the potential to fight the foreign Snacks & food options. This could help the cultivators of FoxNut and also help them get recognition at the global scale.
I hope you liked this article. If you find it helpful please share and comment below the benefits which I forgot to mention. Stay tuned for more posts on food and travel.