Erumely: The plump red mutti fruits, grown exclusively in the Sabarimala forest, have been the latest craze in the Mookkanpetti area of Kottayam. A while ago, it was some of the people from the locality who found wild trees laden with these thick bunches of fruits. They plucked them and sold at the local fruit markets.
The delicious red fruits are now high on demand and are sold for Rs 60 per kilo. Interestingly, more than 80 kilos have been sold in the Erumely region alone. Mutti fruits are indigenous to the mighty Western Ghats.
The fruit got its name from the fact that it grows on both the trunks and the branches until the lower part of the tree. The outer shell is broken to eat the sweet jelly-like fruit. A fully formed fruit is as big as a gooseberry. The fruits taste sweet and sour.
Some say that these fruits are perfect to be cooked as curries too. The plump red colour of the fruits that mostly grow on the trunks attract wild animals. Wild tuskers often knock down the trees to savour these fruits.
However, such fallen trees would be dead forever and would never bear anymore fruits. It would take years for another mutti tree to grow from the remains of the fallen tree.
People say that it is difficult to find the fruits in the wilderness without getting noticed by the wild elephants and other animals. Mutti saplings are sold at the district forest products nursery in Kanakapalam owned by the social forestry section of the forest department. The fruits for the seeds are collected from the forests in Sabarimala.