About Careers Internship MedBlogs Contact us

The Lesser Known Fruits with Higher Nutritional Value

Font : A-A+

Importance of Underutilized Fruits

'Taste every fruit of every tree in the garden at least once. It is an insult to creation not to experience fully' said famous British actor Stephen Fry. Tropical countries like India are blessed with a variety of fruits and vegetables that they naturally grow and produce.


Fruits like mango, apples, banana, guava, citrus fruits, are available in plenty due to their distinct flavor and taste. These fruits also constantly enjoy the attention of organic scientists and horticulturists and are further improved in their quality. However, fruit lovers and the common man should also remember that there are other fruits too that are sometimes termed as "underutilized fruits" that are hundred times more nutritious than the popular fruits in terms of their vitamin C, carotenoids, and antioxidants. Also, they are inexpensive and are easily available.

The Lesser Known Fruits with High Nutrition Value

Some of these too have a distinct flavor and taste and these are easy to grow even under harsh conditions as compared to exotic fruits like apples, mangoes, kiwis, cherries, grapes and their hybrids.

The underutilized fruit plants are also naturally disease-tolerant and are adapted to hot, hardy climate conditions very much in sync with equatorial climate conditions. In India, they are found locally in the dry regions of Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh, and Gujarat. Some of them are confined to natural wild and semi-wild arid zones.

In India, Underutilized Fruits are found in Rajasthan

Although, the nutritional value of the majority of the forest foods is not precisely known, most of them which have been researched have been found to be a storehouse of nourishment.


There are various obvious reasons for the underconsumption of underutilized fruits. -

  • Most indigenous fruit trees are not commonly cultivated on the farm and there is scant and dispersed knowledge about their fruits and their nutritive value
  • People prefer to have fruits with good taste since wild fruits have high levels of unpleasant tasting tannins and glycosides
  • Indigenous fruits are neither large nor fleshy and contain lots of seeds
  • The fruits are highly perishable and difficult to store in the fresh form
  • Most wild fruits are not really easy and handy to eat
  • Some fruit species are not acceptable as fresh fruit because of high acidity and/or strong astringent taste
  • Most of them are often available only in the local markets and are rarely known in other parts of the country

On the contrary, the benefits of such underutilized fruits far exceed their limitations.

  • They are cheap and highly nutritious.
  • They have known medicinal and therapeutic properties and are used by the local people to cure various diseases.
Underutilized Fruits have Medicinal and Therapeutic Properties & Cure Various Diseases
  • Many of them, the fruit, seed, leaf of the plant are used as curative foods in the traditional Indian Medicine and Ayurveda. For example, amla is used for treating diabetes, bael fruit for beating the heat, bael leaf for diabetes, and ber and phalsa being highly rich in vitamin C are used in cases of vitamin C deficiency.
  • In addition, some have an excellent flavor and taste and are used for preparing delicacies at home. eg. Ber, matira, pickles made of lasora, or dishes made with ker, sangri, kachri, and kumat in Rajasthan.

Nutrient Value of Some Underutilized Fruits (per 100 grams)

FruitProtein (g)Fibre (g)Calcium (mg)Phospho -rous (mg)Iron (mg)Vitamin A (IU)Vitamin C
Underutilized Fruits

Hingota (Balanites aegyptiaca)

Ripe fruits eaten raw or sun dried and stored as dates

Ker (Capparis deciduas)

Shrub; fresh dried tiny unripe fruits used as vegetable, fresh red fruits eaten raw

Lasora (Cordia spp.)

Fruit used as a veg or in pickles, ripe fruits freshly eaten

Sangri (Prosopis cineraria)

Pods are locally called sangria; chocolate color, dried pods are eaten as a vegetable

Meetha Pilu (Salvadora oleoides)

Fruits are red brown when ripe; eaten raw when ripe; can be cooked; dried and stored

Bael (Aegle marmelos)

Fruit are small to large with a hard cover; pulp eaten or made in a fresh sherbet, bael leaves good for diabetics

Chironji (Buchanania lanzan)

Fruit eaten raw; sweetish sub acidic flavor

Karonda (Carissa spp.)

Immature fruits used as vegetable, mature fruits eaten raw. Fruits are processed as a pickle, jam, marmalade

Aonla, Amla (Emblica officinalis)

Fruit eaten fresh, processed and preserved

0.51.9 - 3.420260.4817500-625
Phalsa (Grewia subinaequalis)

Small tiny brown fruits; used to prepare a sherbet

Mahua (Mahua indica)

Ripe fruits eaten raw or cooked

Khirni (Manilkara hexandra)

Fresh fruits are very sweet and eaten raw as well as after drying

Manila tamarind (Pithecellobium dulce)

Pulp consumed raw

Jamun (Syzygium cumini)

Eaten as a fresh fruit

Jamun seeds contain various alkaloids such as jambosin and glycoside which inhibits the conversion of starch into sugars

Tamarind (Tamarindus indica)22.934-9434-780.2-0.9-44
Ber (Zizyphus spp.)

Eaten as a fruit

Common Fruits

Dates (dried)2.53.9120507.3263

Source: http://www.nbpgr.ernet.in/download/UUF-BOOK.pdf



  1. R. Mala. “Nutrient content of important fruit trees from arid zone of Rajasthan” Journal of Horticulture and Forestry Vol. 1(7) pp. 103-108 September, 2009.
  2. Malik S.K. et al. “GENETIC RESOURCES OF TROPICAL UNDERUTILIZED FRUITS IN INDIA” National Bureau of Plant Genetic Resources Pusa Campus, New Delhi 110 012, INDIA.

Latest Publications and Research on The Lesser Known Fruits with High Nutrition Value

Citations   close

Please use one of the following formats to cite this article in your essay, paper or report:

  • APA

    Maulishree Jhawer. (2019, April 06). The Lesser Known Fruits with Higher Nutritional Value. Medindia. Retrieved on May 28, 2022 from https://www.medindia.net/patients/lifestyleandwellness/the-lesser-known-fruits-with-high-nutrition-value.htm.

  • MLA

    Maulishree Jhawer. "The Lesser Known Fruits with Higher Nutritional Value". Medindia. May 28, 2022. <https://www.medindia.net/patients/lifestyleandwellness/the-lesser-known-fruits-with-high-nutrition-value.htm>.

  • Chicago

    Maulishree Jhawer. "The Lesser Known Fruits with Higher Nutritional Value". Medindia. https://www.medindia.net/patients/lifestyleandwellness/the-lesser-known-fruits-with-high-nutrition-value.htm. (accessed May 28, 2022).

  • Harvard

    Maulishree Jhawer. 2021. The Lesser Known Fruits with Higher Nutritional Value. Medindia, viewed May 28, 2022, https://www.medindia.net/patients/lifestyleandwellness/the-lesser-known-fruits-with-high-nutrition-value.htm.

Request an Appointment with a Doctor (Nutrition Expert)

Dr. Pratiksha Prashant
Dr. Pratiksha  Prashant
Masters in Dietitics, Masters in Health Science, International Health coach, International diabetic educator, Certification in Vedic nutrition, Bachelors in Dental Surgery
7 years experience
Teleconsult Now View Profile
Dr. Sunita Malhotra
Dr. Sunita Malhotra
30 years experience
Pro Health Diet Clinic, Sector 37-C
Teleconsult Now View Profile
Ms. Himaja H
Ms. Himaja H
BSc, MSc
12 years experience
Health and Nutrify clinic, Serlingampally
Teleconsult Now View Profile
Mrs. Priya S
Mrs. Priya S
11 years experience
Teleconsult Now View Profile
View All

Post a Comment

Comments should be on the topic and should not be abusive. The editorial team reserves the right to review and moderate the comments posted on the site.



why no info on guava?

Health Topics A - Z

    What's New on Medindia
    Monkeypox Outbreak: What it is, How Does it Spread & the Prevention
    Seasonal Allergy Medications
    How to Choose the Best Eczema-Friendly Moisturizer for Children?
    View all

    Medindia Newsletters Subscribe to our Free Newsletters!
    Terms & Conditions and Privacy Policy.

    Most Popular on Medindia

    Indian Medical Journals Diaphragmatic Hernia Post-Nasal Drip Turmeric Powder - Health Benefits, Uses & Side Effects Blood Donation - Recipients Iron Intake Calculator Vent Forte (Theophylline) Daily Calorie Requirements Calculate Ideal Weight for Infants Color Blindness Calculator

    Disclaimer - All information and content on this site are for information and educational purposes only. The information should not be used for either diagnosis or treatment or both for any health related problem or disease. Always seek the advice of a qualified physician for medical diagnosis and treatment. Full Disclaimer

    © All Rights Reserved 1997 - 2022

    This site uses cookies to deliver our services. By using our site, you acknowledge that you have read and understand our Cookie Policy, Privacy Policy, and our Terms of Use