Friday, September 21, 2012

All About the Ambarella Fruit

Origin of the Ambarella Fruit:
Ambarella originated in Melanesia and Polynesia.

Availability and Where to find Ambarella in India:
Ambarella is something stumbled upon here in India. Like many fruits, you might notice it sitting next to sapotas in a rickety shop or on a small pushcart sitting at a crossroad. If you’re an ambarella junkie looking for it, come after mango season (which ends in summer): you might find it during the fall and winter months.

Ripe ambarellas are golden 
Checking an Ambarella for Ripeness: If the fruit is hard and green, it’s not ripe yet to the point of any discernible sweetness. Though many do eat this fruit while it’s green, waiting until it’s yellow will make it a bit more palatable.

Taste of Ambarella: Crunchy and sour. You can eat the skin as well, but with a large pit and its floss-like threads you might not get much flesh from the fruit. You can’t really go to a fruit vendor and eat these things like candy. The Encyclopedia of Fruits and Nuts describes the taste as “crisp and juicy with, and subacid with a pineapple fragrance and flavor.

Most people eat ambarellas in small wedges with fish sauce, such as the locals in Malaysia and Indonesia. Sri Lankans also love eating this stuff when it’s raw with some chilly powder and salt. When it’s yellow, the taste is described to “that of an unripe mango.”

Nutritional Value of Ambarella:
According to the Sri Lanka Agriculture Department, the nutritional value of 100g edible portion of ambarella contains…

46 kcal
.2g protein (negligible)
.1g fat (negligible)
12.4 g carb
56 mg calcium: 5.7% RDI
67 mg phosphorous: 6.7% RDI
.3 mg of iron: 1.6% RDI
205 ug carotene (Vitamin A): 4.1% RDI
.05 ug Thiamine (B1): 1% RDI
.02 ug of Riboflavin (B2): negligible
36 mg Vitamin C: 60% RDI

Health Benefits of Ambarella:
The Sri Lanka Agriculture Department recommends the ambarella for diabetes mellitus, indigestion, urinary tract infections, hypertension and hemorrhoids. The Encyclopedia of Fruit and Nuts explains the fruit is used to treat sores, wounds and burns.

The leaves and bark are used for other medicinal purposes, such as treatment for dysentery, cracked tongue, and thrush.

How to Open/Cut: Straight down the middle with a knife is fine. The fruit’s no larger than an egg, so how you slice it is up to you.

Ambarella Recipe Ideas: Raw ambarella is also used for pickled chutneys in Sri Lanka, or simmered in coconut milk as part of a nice curry—sort of like raw mango or raw papaya.

In Vietnam, they soak the ambarella in liquid and then artificially sweeten it to taste like licorice.

In Jamaica, they juice it and add ginger and sugar.

Ambarella Curry
Personal Experience:
Haven’t tried the fruit myself.

Random Fact about the Ambarella:
Ambarella fruit juice doubles as a skin softener.

Similar fruits:
Yellow mombin, java plum, “golden apple.” It’s in the same genus as the yellow mombin (Spondias) but different genus (ambarella is S. dulcis)


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