From Christmas to Carnival, savour the fruits of the Mattoma tree and plant seeds for the future. Make delicious savoury dishes or delightful classic cocktails with the sweet pulp of the fruit.
Veterans in Goa talk about a fruit that resembles a small ambaddo or hog plum and can be purchased at the Three Kings fair in Cuelim village, near Cansaulim. Since this feast occurs on a specific day in January, the picking season of this fruit is hard to misjudge. People also expect to witness the fruit at the Konkan Fruit Fest, which is in late April or early May.
What Is Yuletide Plum?
Any person who understands Hindi will recognise the botanical name: Parinari (Pari = Fairy, Nari = Woman), and the Mobola Plum of equatorial Africa is Parinari curatellifolia. Earlier it was available in large quantities in the hilly areas of south of the Zuari River, near Cortalim, and was commonly referred to as mattoma in that region.
Origin Of The Mattoma Tree
The mattoma plant can endure months of waterlogging and grow in unfavourable soil conditions. The tree is also fire-resistant so it will be suitable vegetation in places that are prone to fires.
The tree is evergreen and grows about medium to large, 10m in height. The tree reaches its maximum size of roughly 20 metres (70 feet) in height and 20 metres in diameter at its crown in regions like Goa that receive a lot of rainfall.
Upon closer inspection, the trunk exhibits a distinct fissured bark. This spreading tree in Africa's grasslands is remarkable with its canopy resembling a mushroom.
Once a lot of mattoma trees used to grow in the Quelossim village, which was formerly a part of Cortalim gram panchayat but now the number has reduced a lot because most of the places are being taken by the ever-expanding Verna Industrial Estate of GIDC.
The plant might have been imported by Goans living abroad in Portuguese East Africa (Angola and Mocambique) or British East Africa (Kenya, Uganda, and Tanzania).
Why Is The Tree Important in Goa?
The tree is valuable in Goa as it offers delicious fruits during the post-monsoon period and it can be harvested for three months, from December to February. To eat the fruit it has to be peeled like litchee or rambutan.
It differs greatly from the other fruits in both appearance and flavour. In the regions where it grows, the edible fruit is highly prized, particularly by young people.
Those who have been lucky enough to consume the fruit, have enjoyed the pulp. In its native Africa, the fruit's crushed pulp is used as a drink ingredient and is frequently fermented to create alcoholic beverages.
When treating bone fractures and dislocations, the leaves are crushed into a paste and applied directly. Because of cyclonic floods, fire incidents, and global warming, Mattoma might be a tree of the future. The season to savour these fruits and plant seeds for the future is from Christmas to Carnival.
Replace your regular Martini with this epic Mattoma fruit Martini
45ml Vodka or dry gin
5 pc. Mattoma peeled without seeds
½ stalk of Lemon grass, chopped
20ml of Lemon juice
15ml of Simple syrup to taste
Ice for shaking
A delightful cocktail to enjoy at the beach, the freshly squeezed lemon juice brings out the flavour of the mattoma fruit and finishes it off with a nice, refreshing acidity!