I was munching on a woodapple jam sandwich the other day and contemplating on the many banalities of life when it suddenly dawned on me the dexterity of what I was eating. Its easy to take for granted what has been part and parcel of what you eat on a daily basis I suppose, and its easy to take as granted those little things that are staples of your household refrigerator. Woodapple jam! That tangy sweet taste from childhood and that acrid smell that gets some people running for the hills while others embrace the fragrance with fondness.

If Sri Lankans had ever bestowed a condiment of sheer genius, this has to be it. Woodapple is a fruit of the common man grown in abundunce here in Sri Lanka and found in abundunce fallen in the ground fragrant and ripe. When unripe, it has a greenish colour whereas the ripe woodapple takes on a dark brown colour. Another way to find out whther the fruit is ripe is to shake it. And if you can feel the flesh of the woodapple shake inside its shell, you can It has a hard outer shell that must be cracked to get to the soft mushy center freckled with seeds which can be either eaten as it is with a pinch of salt and sugar, or as a thick sweet and sour juice. The unripe woodapple is brilliant as a pickle (achcharu) with a bit of chilly powder, salt and a pinch of salt. Woodapple is wonderful in so many ways. Not to mention the many medicinal qualities that are found within this thick brown shell of this beautiful fruit.

Anyways, the jam. Yes, sheer prodigy.

Woodapple jam comes under many production lines in Sri Lanka but I believe the pioneers have been MD. This thick sweet concoction is absolutely ambrosial on bread, roti or anything else as a spread with a bit of butter. The natural tartness of the fruit combined with sweetness create a magical sensation on the tongue, sometimes raising goosebumps on the skin (yes, it is that good). Some even use this jam in desserts and cakes with the aim of giving it a certain tartness that would cut the sweetness and bring that fine balance between the sweet and the sour.

For me, woodapple jam brings out fond memories of childhood. Simple as that.