Health & Lifestyle

Makhana: Desi Snack with Amazing Health Benefits, Know Where it Grows & Other Interesting Key Facts

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Many people are not aware of this healthy and tasty Indian snack when they are addicted to those western or unhealthy snacks options. “Fox nuts” or more popularly known as ‘makhna’ are a healthy snack option for the Indian food lovers.  A bowl of roasted makhanas peppered with some black salt and pepper can be your ideal companion with evening hot tea with added health benefits.

Also known as Euryale ferox or lotus seeds, they also make for the perfect tea time snack, and can also be added to curries, and sweet dishes like kheer or pudding. Moreover, in some parts of India, it is offered to gods on special occasions and festivals.

Where Makhana is grown? 

Many of us would have not known that fox nuts or makhana are actually a part of the lotus flower. It is highly produced in the state of Bihar in India and in countries like Japan, Korea and some parts of Russia. The flower which is known for its beauty and grace has a lot to offer, including lotus seeds or makhana.  According to the Indian Journal of Traditional Knowledge, the seeds are edible after being processed and are highly nutritious. 

makhana

The seeds grow on the leaf in a pond or in stagnant water. Then, collected seeds are washed and sun-dried for a couple of hours. After they dry up properly, they are put in a pan at the high flame to be roasted and then hit immediately so that the black shells are broken and white puff pops out. Generally, only one-third of makhana can be recovered from the whole lot as most of the water produced can’t be used.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                         

How is Makhana Processed? 

Collection

The harvesting process is a little bit laborious and takes four to five hours to collect seeds at a time from the bottom of the pond or river. In some communities, people fix a bamboo pole known as kaara in one place and cover it up. Farmers used to take a dip in the water, diverging into different directions along with the long poles. They drag the seeds with the help of their palms and gather them to the base of a bamboo pole. Collected seeds are washed and cleaned to be processed. 

paneer makhana

Cleaning and storage  

The collected seeds put into a container called ganja, which is then shaken and swung continuously by touching the water surface until all the seeds get cleaned. Then all the cleaned seeds are packaged into small bags. The seeds then put into a cylindrical container and rolled on the ground to make their surface smooth. Farmers bring the seeds to their huts and keep them overnight. Female members spread the seeds over mats and let them dry for about two to three hours on the next day. 

Gradation

All the processed seeds have taken for gradation. This process involves different sizes of makhanas to pass through different sieving devices known as jharna, rectangular iron plates. This process requires the makhanas to pass through 10 sieves. After this process, all graded seeds are stored separately. 

Getting the white puff 

When the makhanas dry, it requires frying or else they tend to get spoilt easily. The fried seeds are then preserved in a container made of long bamboo strips and plastered with cow dung. The upper portion of the container is shielded with a coarse cloth so as to maintain a certain temperature. They need to be fried again after a few hours; the same process is followed and the fried makhanas are placed on a wooden plate once done.  

 

The fried nuts are left to cool off and then these seeds are manually cleaned until the white puff pops out of the black colored seeds. 

 

Here are some amazing health benefits of Makhanas

It is low in fat, sodium, and cholesterol. It’s an ideal snack for those suffering from cholesterol or those who want to lose some weight. So you can happily add it to your weight loss journey.

Beneficial to those who are suffering from high blood pressure, heart diseases and obesity due to their high magnesium and low sodium content.

Ideal for diabetics due to their low glycemic index.

Works as an anti-ageing enzyme which helps to repair damaged proteins.

According to Ayurveda, astringent properties in “makhna” benefitted your kidneys.

It’s a gluten-free, protein-rich and good source of carbs.



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Krishi Jagran