Santol – (Sandoricum koetjape)
Santol is a tropical fruit and is available during the rainy season in the Philippines. Some varieties are sweet and some are sour. The meat part that covers the seeds are the ones eaten and used in cooking. The sweet variety we eat fresh and the sour ones we used to cook as a souring agent for “sinigang” a recipe that requires sour seasoning like tamarind, or “kamias” or even green mango. I remember my Aunt making a sweet preserve of the santol. It needs to be peeled and seeds removed then cook in sugar just like any other fruits that you would like to preserve. The seeds is covered with a white cottony membrane and it is also good to eat but the seeds itself you have to discard. You can also pickle the santol by just soaking the rinds in salted water. I remember dipping the sour santol in salt and it is a good snack for us back then. There is a variety we call “Bangkok Santol” which is really sweet and bigger in size than our local santol. It must be imported from Thailand where santol is indigenous. It is also native to Malaysia, and then introduced to Borneo, Sri Lanka, Indonesia and the Philippines and other Southeast Asian countries.
Santol tree is easy to grow and needs little attention. They grow up to 30 meters high and will start to fruit in about five years. Because it grow fast, its a sustainable source of wood. It can be used in furniture making and wood carvings not to mention firewood for cooking.
Santol fruit has many healthful benefits. It has Vitamin B which helps to boost metabolism and improve moods, folate helps in preventing birth defects. It has Vitamin C for anti oxidants to help in the immune system and preventing cancer. It has carbohydrates for energy, phosphorous and calcium for strong bones. It has pectin that can lower your cholesterol and prevents cardiovascular disease. It also has sandorinic and byronotic acids that can help with your allergies.
There are many other uses for santol. The leaves for example can used for treating skin rashes, psoriasis, and other skin diseases like ringworm because it contains alkaloids and sapogenin. According to my research it can also be a treatment for Alzheimer’s disease and diarrhea.
Beside being a good tasting fruit to eat Santol can also be made into alcoholic drink. I’m expecting another artisan winery in the making.