"It's not good enough to harvest yet. As you can see here, the seed is not hard enough,"she said. "When the seed becomes as hard as a rock, so that it becomes unbreakable with our teeth, then it's time to harvest. This is how we, as farmers, figure out when to pick the fruit."
After hearing from someone that maesil is effective in curing gastrointestinal ailments, Kim made puree using the fruit and fed it to her daughter. The homemade puree worked.
It was three decades ago when Kim and her husband experienced in person the benefits of maesil. But it wasn't easy to find the fruit in stores back then. Because of its strong, sour taste, maesil was not popular. However, the fruit was used as an ingredient in traditional herbal medicine. Kim went to Seoul's Gyeongdong Market, which is a haven for herbal ingredients used in traditional medicine, to obtain maesil for her daughter.