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    Rebecca Mushran from Himachal Pradesh shows you why Bhuira deserves more takers in Chennai.

    IF YOU want to make better use of those over-ripe bananas at home, head to next week’s Makers Market. Besides showing us how to make banana jams with fruit juices, Rebecca Mushran of Himachal Pradesh -based Bhuira Jams will be acquainting us with their inspirational story. She will be making the jams (malai valaipalam and poovai varieties) in front of you, in half-hour workshops over two days, demonstrating how the women workforce in their factory transforms fruits into the brand of handmade delights that they have come to be known for.

    Woman power
    She chose Chennai as the first stop for her debut showcase outside Himachal, and thanks Nitin Chordia (Cocoatrait) for initiating it. The chocolatier was on a holiday when he happened to sample their jams. “He managed to reach us and said that ours was one of the best jams he has ever had. Like many, he was  surprised that we are an Indian brand. He then agreed to bring the product to Chennai,” recalls Mushran, who credits her mother-in-law — Linnet Mushran, 75, “the accidental jam-maker” — for the birth of Bhuira Jams. “Not knowing what to do with the many apples that dropped in our orchard, she started making jellies with them. Later, we expanded our range to jams, chutneys, crushes and marmalades, and employed women from the village to help us with cutting, washing, cooking and packing the jams in glass bottles. “There are 19 women who work regularly with us, besides the daily wagers,” says Mushran. “One of the main reason we made the process labour intensive, without any machines, is to empower the ladies,” she further adds. Their apricot and apple cinnamon jams were recently in the spotlight at Hyatt Regency, where they appeared in desserts as part of the hotel’s new Italian menu.

    Getting creative
    There’s a lot you can add these jams to, beyond the humble toast. Bhuira can be had with waffles and pancakes, and Mushran urges you to have the plum jelly with dosas! At the workshop, she promises to add fruit juices (apple, plum, pineapple, orange, etc) to the jams, letting you taste bananas in different flavours. “I will also be handing out instructions on how to improve the shelf life of the product,” she concludes.
    August 5-6, at Crowne Plaza Chennai Adyar Park. Details: 24994101

    — Karan Pillai

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