Bael Fruit plant (Aegle marmelos)
This is a tree that grows from 2.4 to 4.6 meters (8 to 15 feet) tall, with a dense spiny growth. The fruit is 5 to 10 centimeters (2 to 4 inches) in diameter, green, gray or yellowish, and full of seeds. The Bael fruit has a smooth, woody shell and takes about 11 months to ripen on the tree. The shell can be so hard it must be cracked with a hammer or machete.
Where to find the Bael Fruit plant in the wild
Bael fruit is found in rain forests and semi-evergreen seasonal forests of the tropics. It grows wild in India and Burma.
Edible parts of the Bael Fruit plant
The fruit, which ripens in December, is at its best when just turning ripe. It can be eaten fresh or dried (slice it and sundry). The juice of the ripe fruit, diluted with water and mixed with a small amount of tamarind and sugar or honey, is sour but refreshing. Like other citrus fruits, it is rich in vitamin C. The leaves and small shoots can be eaten as salad greens.
Note: the size and hardness of the fruit can make them dangerous when falling from trees. In native countries, the falling fruit causes much property damage.