In the two last posts we told you about some phenomenal flowers and terrific trees that are out there in Mindanaoan nature. Today, we will tell you about the plants that you can eat – and reveal some of Mindanao’s most juicy secrets.
Six exotic fruits
It’s 2013, so you think by now you would have heard about all the exotic fruits that exist in the world. Papaya, lychee, star fruit, passion fruit, guava, kumquats, dragon fruit… A stroll down the fruit aisle in a Western supermarket gives you the impression that there’s a huge variety of tropical fruits to choose from today. They are all there! Right? Well, in reality that’s only a small sampling of Mother Nature’s true bounty. On Mindanao you can find plenty of fruits you have probably never heard of before, such as:
Mangosteen (top image)
It is not a mango. In fact, it’s nothing like a mango. But along with mango, pineapple and cherimoya (a very popular fruit originally from South America) – the mangosteen is often regarded as one of the four most delicious fruits in the world. The mangosteen is said to be rich in antioxidants and strengthens the body’s immune system. And it looks really pretty too!
This interesting looking fruit also goes by the name sugar apple. Atis has sweet, creamy flesh with numerous black seeds. It has a very short shelf life and should be eaten as soon as it ripens (preferably directly from the tree). This is a fairly good reason why it’s not lying around in the world’s best-known supermarkets.
The fruit of the calamansi (or calamondin) resembles a small, round lime and it is indigenous to the Philippines. This citrus fruit is popular as a souring agent and plays a giant role in Philippine cuisine. Calamansi is available year round and is usually seen in its unripened state as a dark green fruit, but if left to ripen it turns a tangerine orange colour (just like lime). It is also used as a hair conditioner, a body deodorant and an ink stain remover for fabrics.
Lanzones grow in bunches resembling pale blonde grapes with bitter seeds. Lanzones from the small island of Camiguin, belonging to Mindanao, are said to be the sweetest in the country. That’s why each year the local celebrate their Lanzones with a great harvest festival.
Remember the stinky flower in the previous post? Well, this thorn-covered, football sized fruit is one of the smelliest fruits known to man. It is forbidden in hospitals in Thailand, in subway stations in Singapore and most airlines don’t allow the durian fruit on board. Its odour has been likened to the smell of gym socks or rotten onions (!). For many it is a love-hate-relationship. It smells like hell but it tastes like heaven. And on Mindanao Durian is regarded as the king of fruits. Varieties of durian are grown around Davao City, making Davao the durian capital of the Philippines.
This fruit is esteemed because of its delicious taste, pleasant odour (compared to the Durian) and nutritional value. The taste of the marang is mild and creamy, almost like a juicy banana. Aside from being eaten as fruit dessert (eaten raw), it is also considered as one of the best flavouring material for desserts in Mindanao. And like many of the fruits we have addressed, it has a very short ‘shelf-life’.
So, dear readers, the world is full of bizarre and exotic treats that you have not yet tasted! A few of them you can find in your local supermarket, they are easy to export and will stay delicious all the way to your kitchen. But some fruits are more fragile and simply has to be eaten where they are grown – for instance on Mindanao!
The main target of the Land of Promise campaign is, as we hope you already know, the pineapple. This majestic fruit is not originally from Mindanao, but has become one of the most cultivated fruits on the island. There are a lot of stories to tell about the pineapple and you can be sure there will be more posts where the pineapple gets all the limelight.
Until then – enjoy the treats of Mother nature and ask yourself if you have tasted all the local fruits around your own back yard!
Photo 1 – Mangosteen
Photo Credit: ehavir via Compfight cc
Photo 2 – Atis
Photo Credit: tirong via Compfight cc
Photo 3 – Calamansi
Photo Credit: gorgeoux via Compfight cc
Photo 4 – Lanzones
Photo Credit: Tony Rodd via Compfight cc
Photo 5 – Durian
Photo Credit: melvinheng via Compfight cc
Photo 6 – Marang
Photo Credit: Tony Rodd via Compfight cc