Are you one of those kids who climbed your neighbor’s tree to pick fruits? Because I was. When you were born in the 90’s and grew up in the province, you most likely know the fruits below. They are rich in vitamin C and may bring good old memories.
1. Guava (Psidium guajava)
Let us start with this fruit I still see in the market. I want it ripe but my playmates back then would find it rewarding to have even the baby guavas. Did your parents also boil its leaves to wash you after a fever or use it after your tuli? Old folks in our province use the leaves a lot for medicinal purposes.
2. Indian mango (Mangifera indica)
I still crave for Indian mango from time to time. I remember when I was a kid, I’d sit under the canopy of our mango tree with a bowl of alamang, soy sauce with hot pepper, or salt. I’d pick those manibalang (crunchy light yellow flesh stage), peel, and dip to my sauce! I can’t help but salivate right now. LOL.
3. Santol (Sandoricum koetajape)
In our school when I was elementary, there was this santol tree that had lots of fruits every start of classes (around July), we would pick new fallen fruits, squeeze it between our legs to open and then dip it to salt. YUM! In some areas, people make sinantulan (viand made of grated santol flesh with small shrimp and gata).
4. Duhat (Syzygium cumini)
Remember shaking your stick-o container this fruit and salt? It was fun shaking the bottle, right? Then, you enjoy perfect combination of sweetness, sourness and saltines. Can you still recall how your hand and mouth turned purple?
5. Sampaloc (Tamarindus indica)
Some people only know this fruit from the packaging sinigang mix. Others who experienced picking one may still remember the satisfying sound of the cracking casing of the fruit. We like it ripe if we will eat it raw but our mothers prefer the unripe as part of our favorite sinigang.
6. Balimbing (Averrhoa carambola)
Grown ups use ‘balimbing’ as an insult or joke to a politician, friend or officemate. It means a person changes allegiances for personal convenience. As a kid we didn’t know that, we just love the subtle sweetness and sourness of the fruit.
7. Siniguelas (Spondias purpurea)
We rolled the fruit between our hands until it soften. We love it with or without salt. Some hate its big seed others don’t mind. I rarely see this fruit in the market now so I always grab the opportunity whenever I encounter a vendor selling this.
8. Caimito (Chrysophyllum cainito)
Star fruit to some but I grew up with Caimito. My classmates in gradeschool would be excited to go out and pick some of the fruits of Caimito. This is also one of those fruits we cracked open between our legs. We scoop it with spoon or just squeeze until the milky and sweet flesh comes out.
9. Aratiles (Muntingia calabura)
My parents would always warn me not to eat too much of this fruit (because one small and cute fruit houses several thousands of seeds) as it may cause appendicitis but lo behold! No hard scientific evidence proving that eating seeds may really cause appendicitis. Yay! We still have 2 trees of this fruit nearby.
10. Mansanitas (Ziziphus jujuba)
Just like Siniguelas you roll it between your hands until it softens and ready to eat but this one has smaller seeds. You can actually eat the whole thing even the seeds if you like. There are trees of this fruit inside the compound where I work and I still enjoy picking and eating some.
11. Berba (Garcinia intermedia)
Not really encountered this one when I was a kid but we this in our office and when my friend from Bicol saw it, he started reminiscing the times they picked Berba fruits not just to eat but also to sell them. Thus, I included it here. It has sour and sweet taste, and you eat it like small version of santol.
12. Lipote (Syzygium polycephaloides)
This one resembles the look of duhat but is not the same as duhat. But just like duhat, you put it inside a container and add salt then shake. It tastes like mangosteen. I just learned that you can make a good wine out of this fruit.
13. Macopa (Syzygium samarangense)
A bell shape fruit that is abundant during the summer season in the Philippines. The word copa is a Spanish word for goblet and macopa resembles a cup shape if turned upside down. This one is not as tasteful as the other fruits. But I love the crunch you get from each bite you make.
In this fast pacing world surrounded with technologies, we sometimes crave a simple life we used to live and I hope these fruits somehow allowed you to time travel.