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Fruit of the Philippines: TambisThe tambis or makopa (Syzygium samarangense) is one of those fruit that has many names. This causes quite the confusion because there are several varieties of the 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.

Fruit of the Philippines: Tambis

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’ or 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 it to apples stems from the taste that closely resembles the very familiar taste of apples we all know. 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 that of the tambis fruit.

The tambis fruit has a pinkish-red color and the seeds are located in the upper part of the fruit. The fruit is bell-shaped, with a waxy texture and pretty crisp to the touch. You can find this fruit throughout Southeast Asian fruit stands where it is pretty affordable while in season.

The tambis tree itself is more like a shrub and requires plenty of rain and can do well in tropical habitats, as high as 1,600 m up from the sea level. However it can grow so quickly and propagate so fast that in some regions it may be considered invasive.

The tambis shrub is usually cultivated for its edible fruit and its hardy wood, which can be used to make sturdy tools. Even the bark of the tree is sometimes used in herbal medicines in order to treat a variety of ailments. The leaves are also edible and the locals may sometimes use them to wrap food in them. However if you’re visiting these countries, you can expect to see the tambis tree as an ornamental element in parks, orchards and gardens as well.

The tambis grows from a regular lemon size to a 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 normally water our tree with water laced with brown sugar.

What’s in the Tambis Fruit?

The tambis fruit is actually a nutritional powerhouse making this fruit a healthy addition to any diet. Let’s see what you can expect to benefit 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 strong and healthy. This very important mineral is also essential in maintaining functional and healthy communication between the brain and other parts of the body. It also plays an important 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 your bad cholesterol. Apart from this, fiber is incredibly important 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 deficiency of niacin will often translate 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 cartilages 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 great 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, muscle contraction and nerve signals function properly.
  • Sulfur – Sulfur is important in the synthesis of certain key 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 important 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 quite packed with vitamins, minerals and antioxidants, making it very healthy when introduced in 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 a bit 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 actually uses the seeds of the tambis fruit in order to prevent dysentery and diarrhea.
  • Will Act As a Diuretic Aid – The tambis fruit has been used in diuretic purposes for hundreds of years. Due to its high water content, the tambis fruit does a great job in 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 fruit that will help your body better fight against free radicals.
  • Will Control Diabetes – This happens due to its jambosine content, an alkaloid that has the ability to 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, which in turn will lower your chance of getting 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 towards the baby inside the womb. The tambis fruit comes as an extra intake that can make the pregnancy more comfortable all throughout the 9 months.

The tambis fruit may also play an important part when it comes to inflammation in the joints, epileptic seizures, smallpox, strained or sore eyes.

As you can see, the tambis fruit is quite rich in nutrients and has the ability to 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 in 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 best store the tambis fruit:

  • The Tambis fruit is pretty hardy and does not bruise easily. This means you can keep it for up to 5 days on your countertop, at room temperature, it’s not that perishable.
  • However the best way to enjoy this fruit for a longer period of time is to securely store it in your fridge. This way you can enjoy the tambis even for weeks to come.
  • Of course, if you cut the fruit, and depending on what your fridge temperature is, this period will get shorter. 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 easily be dried up in order to be consumed at a later date. Although the data on tambis fruit is insufficient in this regard, you may want to dry your tambis fruit in order 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 that of the watermelon, that it’s very easy 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 invigorating effect on the body and on the mind.
  • You can also include it in your morning routine – cut it up in small pieces and add it to your Greek yoghurt. 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 in small pieces, making sure you’ve eliminated the seeds to the best of your ability. Then you can put these chunks in the mixer jar together with 2-3 glasses of water. Add sugar, water, salt or lime juice to your personal 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 you’ll surely 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 still remained somewhat confined in the countries it is native to. However if you do travel there, you can expect rose apples to adorn every fruit stand, at very approachable prices while in full season.

This fruit is delicious, closely resembling the taste of apples and the watery content of watermelons, making it extremely versatile and pleasant to consume. Apart from its exotic look and appetizing taste, the tambis fruit is also packed with vitamins, minerals and antioxidants and this is where the fruit really 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 really easy to include in your diet. You can either eat the tambis fruit raw, as a healthy low-calorie snack, or you can juice it to hydrate you on a hot day. You can also include it in desserts or, with a bit of creativity, in salads. After all, it’s up to you to discover the many wonderful ways this fruit can be benefited from.

Storing this fruit is also simple, since it’s quite hardy. 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 up and enjoy it as a healthy snack in the months to come.

When all is said and done, 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 has to offer.

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.

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