I relish eating local fruits. In my youth, I climbed rambutan and guava trees to
pick and eat the fruits right off the trees.
These days, I pick the "kedondong"
(great hog plum) or the starfruit or even the Thai mango off its stalk, standing
just below the trees. More often than not, I buy them from the fruit seller.
My favorite is the Indian mango. The fruits vary in size and shape. They can
be as big as my palm or double that of a huge man's hand, averaging between 4 to
7 inches long to 3 inches wide. When ripe, the skin is either yellow or orange
or greenish-yellow with a yellow or orange-red flush. In shape too, they vary
from almost round to narrow oblong or oval. They are slightly
beaked at one end with a bulge at the other
The mango flesh is bright yellow, very juicy and sweet to taste. It has an
aromatic smell which is sometimes strong or almost absent. The stone or seed is
fibrous and large, sometimes flat in the new
strains but in good species, the fibers are short.
Another favorite of mine is the nona. There are two varieties: the "Nona
Capri", the custard apple and the "Nona Seri Kaya", the sugar apple.
The fruits of the custard apple are almost round, about 4 inches wide. The
color is dull green with a pinkish flush, ripening to a dull red. The skin is
thin but quite tough and is covered with faint, criss-cross markings which are
slightly raised but are not easily separated into segments.
The flesh is creamy white and slightly granular. It has a thick custard-like
consistency, rather sugary and flavorless. There is a slightly fibrous central
core. Round this core are many unattached black seeds embedded in the flesh. The
small oblong seeds look shiny and smooth and are smaller at one end.
The other nona, the sugar apple has fruits which are almost round, about 3
inches wide. The fruits are covered with round knobs easily separable. The skin
is pale green when ripe and covered with a greyish bloom. Some may have a dull
pink look. When ripe, the fruit is soft and squashy,
often falling into small segments. The flesh is granular, thick and white. The
rather scented flavor is pleasant and sweet. Many black pips, about half-an-inch
long, are embedded in the flesh.
The last local fruit is the hog plum, the "kedondong". The fruits are oblong,
measuring about 3 inches, with several fruits growing on a drooping stalk. They
are bright green at first, ripening to yellow flecked with brown. They are
usually sold while still green. The skin is smooth with five faint, long
depressions down three quarters of the fruit. The flesh is white and pulpy. It
has a rather harsh unpleasant smell though some strains have a sweeter odor. A
large, fibrous leathery stone is attached to the flesh. The seed has 5 cavities
when cut open.
Except for the nona, the mango and the hog plum can either be eaten raw or
pickled or cooked into jam or chutney. They have proven to be fantastic