If you take a look at the Garcinia fruit, you will find that it looks similar to a small pumpkin and is green when it is raw and turns yellow when it ripens. You can find the Ceylon Garcinia mostly in tropical rainforests in the country. The use of Garcinia for medical and culinary purposes in Sri Lanka runs back to more than hundred years in the past.
This yellow fruit has to undergo a huge process before it reaches the export market. The cultivators wait to pick the fruit till it ripens, then dries it in the sun for a day after cutting it into halves. Then they smoke these halves of dried Garcinia until they turn black. Finally, the smoked Garcinia gets rubbed in a mixture of oil and salt before they put in an earthenware.
Garcinia is a common household spice used in both Indian and Sri Lankan cooking. Garcinia is an essential spice in seafood dishes and fish curries where it often replaces tamarind and lime used for food. Garcinia serves as a preservative in the preparation of Sri Lankan “Sour fish curry” which is a favorite dish among Sri Lankans.
Garcinia also helps in dealing with weight loss and boosts up the immune system while fighting against diseases like arthritis, indigestion and certain uterine disorders. So, Garcinia is not just any spice used in cooking; it is an export-based product with greater importance in both food and medicine.