Try these exotic fruits of Malay Archipelago origin in their native place of cultivation
The book, Fruits of Warm Climates, mentions elaborate benefits of Langsats. The edible medicinal and non-medicinal plants have extensive uses in traditional medicine in Java, Borneo, and Malaysia. Acting as a vermifuge, the pulverized seeds cure ulcers. Sakai, the Malaysian tribe, crushes the seeds to treat fever. The bark has multiple healing uses, from treating dysentery, gastrointestinal disorders, inflammation, and muscle spasms to relieving scorpion stings and insect bites. Limonoids, which are renowned for having anti-cancerous properties, are abundant in langsats. With such powerful properties, how popular are langsats? Like me, many of you must be unaware of this rare fruit's existence.
Dukus and longkongs are frequently mistaken for langsats. Although they are similar in many aspects, langsats are tiny and have the most delicate skin. Compared to the other two varieties, langsats are less sweet.
Its taste profile
Few compare langsats with lychees and longans and vouch the former is way tastier. A few others say it is as sweet as banana and grape but can be bitter akin to a grapefruit. The freshest ones have the best taste. Ironically, the moment it is plucked, the fruit starts relinquishing its sweetness. If it is left unattended, expect a bland taste. That is why people who get the exported langsats never get to experience the authentic flavour of these fruits. Because to ship it from its native place, the fruits are plucked premature, and the taste deteriorates in the process of transport.
Juicy langsat, Image Credit: miamifruit.org
Where to find them
The origin of langsat takes us to the Malay Archipelago. It is also indigenous to the Philippines, Indonesia, and Thailand. Malaysia continues to generate the most langsats today, followed by Thailand, the Philippines, and Indonesia. South Sumatra is proud of this fruit, as its bloom is this province's official flower. Outside of Southeast Asia, not many nations cultivate this fruit. Few countries are keen on farming langsats because they are one of the least palatable fruits in the Meliaceae genus. In the Nilgiri hills of southern India, langsats are widely grown, and the season stretches from April to September.
How to select the best ones
Langsat, Image Credit: Earth Monkey@YouTube
The ripe fruits lose all green hues and take on a faint golden shade. Such fruits are aromatic. To get the sweetest from the lot, pick the ones having golden brown skins with specks. Likewise, don't select the ones with brown tinge and black spots. These are overripe. Check for the fruits having white and transparent internal flesh. It is overripe if it becomes brown or purple. Bizarre it may sound, but the fruits with the highest insects hovering are the best baits.