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Saturday, 6 December 2014

AMBARELLA FRUITS OR KEDONDONG (IN MALAY) AND ITS MEDICINAL USES

Today I want to introduce to you my Ambarella or Kedondong (in Malay) tree. Its scientific name is Spondias Dulcis or Spondias Cythere. I have always referred to this fruit as "Ambar". Ambarella tree grows well in tropical climate, in normal garden soil and in full sunlight. It is a fast growing tree and easy to maintain.
I planted this Ambarella tree in a big pot in one corner of my garden. I remembered when I was young, we had a very tall Ambarella tree at the back of our house. It was so tall that we had to use a very long bamboo pole to poke at the fruits until they dropped to the ground.
We will collect the fruits and before we eat the fruits, we will flung the fruits hard onto the concrete floor to crack or break the fruit. Please don't ask me why we have to do that because I really do not know why, as kids we just follow the older ones. Back then, we ate the fruits with the skin on. The skin tasted tart and sour but being kids, we just didn't mind.
My Ambarella tree has matured and has started to fruit. This is the second year of fruiting.
The flowers of Ambarella are small, in clusters with long stalks and they are in shades of white to yellow.
The leaves are edible, both cooked or raw.  The young leaves can be eaten as salad but the taste may be a bit tart.
The fruits are oval shaped, green and are in bunches in long stalks.  The fruit can be as big as the size of a duck's egg or smaller, is edible and has a spiky, fibrous pit.
When the fruits are young, they are green and skin smooth.  The hairy, fibrous pit inside will be soft, less noticeable and can be eaten together with the fruit.

As they mature, they will be darker green and some may be brownish.  The spiky fibrous pit inside will be bigger and harder and have to be discarded.  Can you see the tiny little white dots on some of the fruits? It is the sap forming on the fruits.
The above picture shows a very young fruit cut into half just to show that the spiky, fibrous pit is not well formed yet.  The young fruit is very crunchy and less sour even when eaten with the skin.  When the fruit matured, its pit will be well formed with hard spiky, fiber growing outwards.  The matured fruit will be crunchy with a harder texture and the skin will be sour and tart to the taste.  If it is left to ripen on the tree, it will fall to the ground.  The ripe fruit will be yellow, soft and less sour.
The picture on the left shows the smooth skin of a young fruit. The picture on the right shows how the fruit looks like with the skin removed.  

I like my Ambarella raw as it is very crunchy and I can taste the natural blend of the sour and sweetness of the fruit.  I can eat the fruit on its own with the skin or without the skin.  I can eat it with a little salt or I can make a very simple sauce of sugar, thick soy sauce and cut chili padi for dipping the fruits.  Or I can cut the Ambarella fruits together with other cut fruits and mix with my favourite rojak sauce.  Oooo..... just thinking and typing about rojak makes my mouth drools....
This is the bunch of fruits harvested from my tree.  Notice dark spots on some of the fruits?  They are caused by the sap that sometimes formed on the skin.  The fruits can be used to cook curries, can be pickled in sugar and vinegar or pickled with spices and sauce as "acar". 
Medicinal Uses:
  • To treat sore throat or cough: Boil the leaves and drink the water or juice the fruit and drink the juice with a pinch of salt or honey.
  • To treat diarrhea and stomach pain:  Boil the bark of the tree and drink the water.
  • To bring down fever or cool down the body:  Eat the fruit. 
When I brought in this bunch of fruits into the kitchen, I was dreaming of eating rojak for lunch.  Alas! after searching in my refrigerator, I found no rojak sauce. Not having the mood to drive all the way in the hot weather just to buy the rojak sauce and too lazy to make any, I decided to juice all of them.  That is after all a good idea to quench my thirst on this hot, sunny day.
Ta dah! This is my giant mug of Ambarella juice. I have only three remaining sour plum in my refrigerator and I threw them all in together with some ice and instead of rojak, I have a giant mug of chilling, refreshing Ambarella juice to enjoy!
I must remember to buy a bottle of my favourite rojak sauce, ready for my next harvest of Ambarella fruits.

Blessed is the man who does not walk in the counsel

of the wicked or stand in the way of sinners

or sit in the seat of mockers.

But his delight is in the law of the Lord,

and on His law he meditates day and night.

He is like a tree planted by streams of water,

which yields its fruit in season

and whose leaf does not wither.

Whatever he does prosper.

(Psalm 1:1-3, New International Version-NIV)

20 comments:

  1. Nancy, I know this fruit as Ambra. And oh! How I love the juice! It is so refreshing and I only get to drink it at the restaurant. And I also love ambra in rojak. Gosh! You make my mouth water with the thoughts of rojak hah..hah... It is great that you will have constant supply from your garden :)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Ha ha Phong Hong, ambra juice and rojak make our mouths water....

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  2. Wa so nice ;) next time make a glass for me la ;)

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    Replies
    1. Elin, make sure you turn up at harvest time.

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  3. Replies
    1. Have you tasted this fruit juice before? You should have a try, you will love it.

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  4. Last time I have 2 ambra trees planted in pots which blooms a lot. At one time both trees were attacked by insects, small white thing and eventually die off. I like to eat them with rojak paste or blend to make refreshing drink like what you did. It is indeed a nice glass of refreshing drink.

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    Replies
    1. At one time my tree was also attacked by this white insect. I too action immediately by trimming off the affected parts and the branches grew back.

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  5. Nancy.... feel like having a homemade ambra now.... so many benefits!!

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    Replies
    1. Ha Ha Claire, thinking of the chilling, refreshing juice...esp with the sour plum.

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  6. I love to drink kedondong juice without any sour plum and without sugar. Have not tried eating the fruit with its skin intact.

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  7. Good morning Mun, You can try it next time to see whether you like it or not. To me it will be sour and tart.

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  8. Wah, a glass of this refreshing fruit juice would indeed be nice in the hot Malaysian weather!

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  9. Definitely. I think you will be able to enjoy this juice when you come back to Ipoh.

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  10. nancy help ... my silly gardener cut the root off as it was stuck in the ground. leaves are drooping an fruits are dropping off ... Help me save my plant shereenlim1@gmail.com

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi Shereen,

      I am so sorry about your Ambarella plant.

      Is your plant growing in a pot?
      If it is in a pot and your gardener cut off its root that has grown into the ground, It still has roots inside the pot. I think your plant will recover after a while. Since the leaves and fruits are dropping, give it a trimming or hair cut, water the plant daily and it will grow back in no time.

      If it is planted in the ground and your gardener just cut off part of its root and the rest of the root are still intact in the ground, the plant will not die. It will recover. It is a hardy plant.

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  11. Hi Nancy,
    I am currently doing my school project which is related to Ambarella.
    May i know is the fruiting season all year around ?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hello Yeap, from my own experience with my Ambarella tree, I noticed that it fruits all year round.

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    2. Thank you for your prompt reply. I am thinking to use it as raw material for making jam. Just wondering is it feasible hehe

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    3. That sounds interesting but I haven't tried it yet and I also have not tasted Ambarella jam before. Maybe you can give it a try and test how it tastes like.

      Delete

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