The tambis or makopa (Syzygium samarangense) is a fruit with many names. This needs to be clarified because there are several varieties of fruit. There are three varieties found in the Philippines. There’s the pink bell-shaped makopa, the green bell-shaped one, and the oval-shaped tambis.
This organic fruit snack is meaty with white pulp, and its taste can be bland to juicy sweet.
An Overview of the Tambis Fruit
The Tambis fruit originates in the Philippines, a country that is home to many exotic fruits and trees that are sometimes only exclusive to this country. In English, the Tambis is also known as the ‘Watery Apple Fruit,’ the ‘Java Rose Apple,’ or simply ‘Java Fruit.’ This fruit is also native to Queensland and New Guinea.
This fruit has a refreshing and sweet pulp that is much enjoyed by the locals. In fact, the similarity that people have given to apples stems from the taste that closely resembles the very familiar taste of apples we all know. In addition, the watery texture inside the apple closely resembles what you expect to feel and taste when indulging in a watermelon.
In fact, this fruit tends to be confused with a very similar one, the Makopa fruit. However, they are slightly different, starting with their Latin names – the Makopa is scientifically known as Syzygium malacensis. Apart from this, the pulp of the Makopa is denser and less sweet than the tambis fruit.
The tambis fruit is pinkish-red, and the seeds are located in the upper part of the fruit. The fruit is bell-shaped, has a waxy texture, and is pretty crisp. You can find this fruit throughout Southeast Asian fruit stands, where it is pretty affordable while in season.
The tambis tree is more like a shrub, requires plenty of rain, and can do well in tropical habitats as high as 1,600 m up from sea level. However, it can multiply and propagate so fast that, in some regions, it may be considered invasive.
The tambis shrub is usually cultivated for its edible fruit and hardy wood, which can be used to make sturdy tools. Even the tree’s bark is sometimes used in herbal medicines to treat various ailments. The leaves are also edible; the locals sometimes use them to wrap food. However, suppose you’re visiting these countries. In that case, you can expect to see the tambis tree as an ornamental element in parks, orchards, and gardens.
The tambis grows from a regular lemon size to mature kiwi fruit. It grows in singles, pairs, triplets, and sometimes in clusters of four to six fruits. Our makopa is seedless. For added sweetness, we would generally water our tree with water laced with brown sugar.
What’s in the Tambis Fruit?
The tambis fruit is a nutritional powerhouse making this fruit a healthy addition to any diet. Let’s see what you can expect to benefit from when it comes to the nutritional value of the tambis fruit:
- Calcium – When it comes to the bone system in our bodies, we can thank calcium for maintaining it solid and healthy. This essential mineral is also essential in maintaining functional and healthy communication between the brain and other body parts. It also plays an integral part in cardiovascular function and muscle movement. Calcium is best absorbed by the human body when paired with vitamin D.
- Dietary fiber – A good amount of fiber in your diet will lower your blood sugar levels and bad cholesterol. Besides, fiber is essential to the digestive system since it helps it run more smoothly. This means that your bowel movements will be improved, and you’ll also get a much-needed feeling of satiety that will prevent you from snacking too much.
- Niacin – Also known as vitamin B3, niacin may help lower cholesterol, boost brain function and ease arthritis. A niacin deficiency often translates into fatigue, depression, diarrhea, and even skin problems.
- Vitamin C – This vitamin is the key agent behind all processes that have to do with body tissues. This vitamin supports the growth, maintenance, and support of these tissues. It will also help the forming of collagen in the body, wound healing, and the proper functioning of cartilage and bones in your body.
- Vitamin A – When it comes to eye health, vitamin A is the main contributor. It prevents age-related macular diseases, and it also helps boost your immune system.
- Iron – This mineral is excellent at optimizing your energy levels while also taking care of your gastrointestinal processes, making sure they run smoothly.
- Potassium – By having enough potassium in your body, you can rest assured your fluid levels are properly regulated and muscle contraction and nerve signals function correctly.
- Sulfur – Sulfur is essential in synthesizing specific vital proteins for the human body.
- Betulinic acid – This is a natural antioxidant that does wonders for the skin due to its anti-inflammatory properties.
- Jambosine – An alkaloid that may play an essential part in the lives of diabetes patients.
- Friedel lactone
Health Benefits of the Tambis Fruit
A little-known fact about the tambis fruit is that it’s packed with vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants, making it very healthy when introduced into your regular diet.
In other words, rose apples are known to be a great aid in:
- Lowering cholesterol
- Boosting the immune system
- Protecting against diabetes
- Detoxifying the liver
- Improving digestion
- Reducing fevers
- Eliminating fungal and bacterial infections
- Halting epileptic seizures
Let’s go more in-depth regarding the tambis fruit’s health benefits. When regularly eating the tambis fruit, you can expect improvement in the following aspects:
- Will Aid Digestion – Due to its dietary fiber content, the tambis fruit will relieve constipation and regulate the passage of food through the digestive tract. Traditional medicine uses the tambis fruit’s seeds to prevent dysentery and diarrhea.
- Will Act As a Diuretic Aid – The tambis fruit has been used for diuretic purposes for hundreds of years. Due to its high water content, the tambis fruit does a great job of eliminating the toxins from your kidneys and liver. The overall metabolic efficiency of the body also improves when regularly eating the tambis fruit.
- Will Fight Against Free Radicals: The tambis fruit is a powerful antioxidant that will help your body better fight against free radicals.
- Will Control Diabetes – This happens due to its jambosine content. This alkaloid can regulate and block the conversion of starch into sugar. This can make a world of difference for those who are prone to developing diabetes or for those who already have this disease.
- Will Improve Heart Health and Cholesterol – The tambis fruit may lower cholesterol levels, lowering your chance of atherosclerosis. This will also decrease the chance of getting more complications, such as coronary heart disease, stroke, and heart attacks.
- Will Make Pregnancy More Comfortable – When pregnant, a lot of the nutrients, vitamins, and water of the woman’s body go toward the baby inside the womb. The tambis fruit is an extra intake that can make the pregnancy more comfortable throughout the 9 months.
The tambis fruit may also be necessary for inflammation in the joints, epileptic seizures, smallpox, and strained or sore eyes.
As you can see, the tambis fruit is exceptionally rich in nutrients. As a result, it can boost your immune system while also being able to prevent or even combat certain health conditions. Additionally, it’s safe to consider this fruit a great choice when looking to lose weight. This is because it has a low caloric count and high water content, making it an ideal healthy snack.
How to Better Store Your Tambis Fruit
If you want to make the most of this fruit, you’ll need to know how to store the tambis fruit best:
- The Tambis fruit is pretty hardy and does not bruise easily. This means you can keep it on your countertop for up to 5 days at room temperature; it’s pretty perishable.
- However, the best way to enjoy this fruit for extended periods is to store it in your fridge securely. This way, you can enjoy the tambis even for weeks to come.
- Of course, depending on your fridge temperature, this period will get shorter if you cut the fruit. For more freshness, you can wrap the cut fruit in cling film or, even better, store it in a container inside your fridge.
- Most fruits can quickly be dried up to be consumed later. Although the data on tambis fruit is insufficient, you may want to dry your tambis fruit to preserve it and eat it in the next few months as a snack.
How to Use Tambis Fruit
The tambis fruit has such a pleasant and familiar taste closely resembling apples, as well as a comforting watery content such as the watermelon, that it’s effortless and rewarding to consume as is, raw.
- You can eat the tambis fruit just as it is on a hot summer day – enjoy its hydrating and stimulating effect on the body and mind.
- You can also include it in your morning routine – cut it into small pieces and add it to your Greek yogurt. If you want the extra health benefits, you can also add some granola to kickstart your day.
- You can include the tambis fruit in a delicious salad – together with an apple, a pomegranate, a little bit of honey, and mint leaves, for garnish, you’ll get a salad that doesn’t only look mouthwatering but also tastes like that. You can see the full tambis fruit recipe from Netmeds here.
- You can even juice your tambis fruit – that’s right, tambis fruit makes an excellent refreshing drink for those hot summer days. All you need to do is chop your fruit into small pieces, ensuring you’ve eliminated the seeds to the best of your ability. Then you can put these chunks in the mixer jar with 2-3 glasses of water. Add sugar, water, salt, or lime juice to your taste until you get the flavor you crave for.
- Tambis fruit also makes an excellent ingredient in desserts. You can use it to make jams or to add flavor to baked goodies. Become creative with your tambis fruit and open new pathways to delicious fulfillment.
As you can see, the tambis fruit is still relatively unknown to the wide world. This is because it remained somewhat confined in the countries it is native to. However, if you travel there, you can expect rose apples to adorn every fruit stand at very approachable prices throughout the entire season.
This fruit is delicious, resembling the taste of apples and the watery content of watermelons, making it highly versatile and pleasant to consume. Apart from its exotic look and flavorful taste, the tambis fruit is also packed with vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants, which is where the fruit shines.
Its powerful nutritional value can help your immune system remain healthy and sturdy and will help your body fight off certain health conditions. Or at least alleviate the unpleasant symptoms associated with them. The tambis fruit is also excellent for the skin due to its antioxidant content and anti-inflammatory properties.
What’s more, the best part of this fruit is that it’s straightforward to include in your diet. You can either eat the tambis fruit raw as a healthy, low-calorie snack or juice it to hydrate you on a hot day. You can also include it in desserts or, with creativity, in salads. After all, it’s up to you to discover the many beautiful ways this fruit can be benefited from.
Storing this fruit is also simple since it’s pretty hearty. You can leave it on the counter for about 5 days, after which it will start to bruise, or you can store it straight in the fridge, where it can keep fresh even for several weeks. You can also dry this fruit and enjoy it as a healthy snack in the coming months.
The tambis fruit is an extraordinary tropical fruit that needs more recognition than it’s accounted for. So please share your experiences with this fruit, so the entire world can enjoy more of what it offers.
Do you know of any dried fruit snacks made from this tropical fruit? We would love to know about it on Facebook or leave us a comment below.
Tuesday 10th of January 2023
Actually Tambis and Macopa are 2 entirely different fruits although closely related. https://www.marketmanila.com/archives/tambis-makopa-side-by-side#:~:text=%20Tambis%20is%20crispier%20than%20macopa.%20The%20former,is%20a%20little%20bit%20sweeter%2C%20soft%2C%20and%20denser.
Tuesday 10th of January 2023
Thank you for sharing - that's super interesting!
Friday 22nd of October 2021
Tambis and makopa are different fruits. Makopa is wax apple( Syzygium samarangense) , while Tambis is rose apple /watery rose apple( Syzygium aqueum) . The fruits in your photos are tambis of green variety.
Monday 27th of April 2015
You are very wrong, the tambis is the pink one.
Tuesday 28th of April 2015
Thanks for the clarification.
Wednesday 15th of June 2011
I have a green bell-shaped Tambis that is not growing fast enough to survive this coming winter. Prior to last winter, it bloomed like crazy with full of large green leaves. Although it had survived the last winter, the pace of its growth is very slow that I am afraid it will not survive this time. I live in San Diego, California, which has a moderate climate but sometime gets gold at 50 degrees F. What kind of fertilizer do I need to get it going? Thank you so much of your assistance.
Tuesday 2nd of June 2020
Rose or citrus fertilizer. Seaweed or Fish Emolsion too