Fruits of summer: Sumptuous Sineguelas!

MANILA, Philippines — Sineguelas season is on!

Oh, those little yellowish green fruits just about two to five centimeters in diameter, they turn dark purple or reddish purple when ripe… When you bite into it, avoiding the large and stony seed in the middle, the yellowish fruit surrounding the seed and just blow the thin skin soft, sweet and juicy pulp is simply delicious.

Known in English as Spanish plum and also popularly known as jocote, sineguelas is native to Mexico and the western coast of Central and South America, and was brought to the Philippines by Spaniards some 400 years ago. Since then, it has been cultivated like local tropical fruits in different parts of the country. In season from April to June, they peak in May, when they are most abundant.

Sineguelas, which goes by the scientific name Spondias purpurea, is healthy, too, as the pulp-like meat is rich in Vitamin C and carbohydrates and contains phosphorus, calcium, fiber, iron, carotene, B-complex vitamins, and several important amino acids. It has antioxidant properties, which is good for the body, as they help rid the body of free radicals.

Best eaten as is, sometimes with a little salt, sineguelas is used in kinilaw or cooked in sinigang in some regions of the country. The pulp of the sineguelas can be processed into marmalade, made into refreshing drinks, or fermented into wine.

But, as the old folks say, too much of a good thing is still too much. Do not eat too much sineguelas as a raw fruit all at once, as consumption in large quantities may lead to stomachache. So eat moderately!

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