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                                         Information @ a Glance
General
  • Petha or ash gourd  or benincasa hispida is a annual vine trailing on the soil surface. Ash gourd, also known as white gourd or wax gourd, is an annual, hairy climbing herb. Pethas  are famous in Agra.
  • Ash gourd is an ash-colored, large fruit vegetable like pumpkin. It is commonly cultivated for its nutritive and medicinal values. Benincasa hispida belongs to the plant family cucurbitace and genus benincasa . 
  • Melons are non-toxic, non-fat and low in calories, but due to their very high water content they have modest nutritional value. Orange fleshed melons are fairly high in vitamin A, folate and potassium but green or white fleshed melons have little but potassium.

Process

  • The process of manufacturing petha sweet is completely manual. Although the process is simple but one needs a lot of experience to actually manufacture the product. Hygienic and sanitary conditions are not up to the mark in most of the units. Old and traditional heating systems i.e. Coal fired bhattis or furnace are used for processing.

  • Gas is used for petha and namkin processing. Residue is excellent organic fertilizer. Gas sample is tested at IOC lab. It can design full scale petha WTE plant.

Production &  Cultivation

  • Petha or ash gourd or benincasa hispida is a popular vegetable cultivated throughout Kerala. The fruits are cultivated mainly for culinary purpose
  • Ash gourd can be successfully grown during January-March and September-December. For rainfed crop, sowing can also be started after the receipt of the first few showers during May-June.
  • Luffas and winter melons perform best during the dry season. However production during the wet season is possible. Winter melons have a long growing season with flowering occurring 50-80 days after planting.

  • Melons vegetables probably originated in Indo-China. They have spread throughout Asia and are now considered pan-tropical. These vegetables are grown in the northern tropics but are mainly produced around Darwin in the NT. Drier areas of lowland tropics are the preferred planting location.

Application

  • Petha can be used as a vegetable, and in pickles, curries and preserves. The fruit can be eaten when it is young or old, it can be picked as early as one week after fertilization
  • Petha is antiperiodic, aphrodisiac, diuretic, laxative and tonic. It is used in ayurvedic medicine in the treatment of epilepsy, lung diseases, asthma, coughs etc.
  • Benincasa hispida has traditionally been used in many herbal remedies including: as an antitussive, as a febrifuge, as an anthelmintic and as a diuretic.
  • Petha is used for the treatment of  bleeding, excessive cholesterol, sleeplessness ,burning urination, anaemia

Market

  • Every year the demand for petha is increasing as it is pure and tasty. In Agra, costs of petha range between rupees 44 to 250 per kilogram whereas, in any metropolitan cities.
  • The major market for petha sweet is the state of U.P, Delhi, Rajasthan, Haryana and Madhya Pradesh. Petha sweet is a perishable item so its export is very difficult but two-three manufacturers with the use of canning technology have started exporting the product to U.S.A and Gulf countries, however their share is still negligible. The demand for petha in the domestic market is also increasing day by day as the sweet is an affordable one and is known to give energy and keeps the body cool in summers.

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