[Ambarella, Tahitian Apple, Otaheite Apple, Golden Apple; Vi (Hawaii, Tonga); Makok farang (Thai); Cay coc (Viet); Kedondong, Ambar (Indonesia, Malaysia); June Plum, Pomme cythere, Manzana de oro (Caribbean); Ambarella (Sri Lanka, Dutch); Juplon (Costa Rica); Jobo indio (Venezuela), caja-manga, cajarana (Brazil); Spondias dulcis syn Spondias cytherea]
Native to Melanesia and Polynesia, this fruit is now heavily planted in the Caribbean and Southeast Asia. The flesh is crisp and slightly tart, surrounding a fibrous seed. Due to the seed, they cannot be easily sliced or pitted, so are often eaten out of hand. In Indonesia and Malaysia they would be accompanied by a little shrimp paste. They are also pickled, cooked for preserves, juiced, and used in sauces, soups and stews.
More on Cashew / Mango Family.
Green June Plums: This is the state of ripeness in which I usually find these fruits. They fall while still green and ripen on the ground. The photo specimens were about 1.8 inches long and 1.2 inches diameter, weighing about 0.9 ounces each, though they are often up to 3-1/2 inches long. In their native Pacific Islands they are reported to be much larger and weigh up to 1 pound. These were purchased in November from a large Asian market in Los Angeles (San Gabriel) for 2016 US $3.99 / pound. Subst: Unripe mango.
In Indonesia, these fruits are sought out by pregnant women because they are reputed to reduce related feelings of sickness. They can be peeled if the skin is a bit grungy, or you wish to reduce tartness. They are often impaled on a bamboo skewer for convenience of dipping in soy sauce, fish sauce, shrimp sauce, or a mix of salt and chili powder. Chutneys are made from this fruit in Sri Lanka and Jamaica, and in Sri Lanka they are used to make curries with spices and coconut milk.
These fruits are a very common ingredient in the famous Malaysian
and Singaporean Rojak fruit salads. They are also often juiced to make
a very pleasant iced beverage. Stewed with a little water and sugar,
then pressed through a sieve, they make a condiment very similar to
apple sauce, but with more flavor.
Ripe June Plums: These ripe June Plums,
purchased from a large Asian market in Los Angeles (San Gabriel) in May,
are unusual because this market usually has them only in dark green.
They were typically 1.8 inch long by 1.2 inches diameter, weighing about
0.8 ounces each, 2017 US $3.99 / pound. These were sweeter than the green
and quite good for eating out of hand. If green ones are in good
condition, they can be left on a counter at room temperature to ripen.
Pickled Ambarella: This form of June Plum is more
consistently available than the fresh here in Los Angeles. The photo
specimens, from Vietnam, were up to 2.5 inches by 1.95 inches, peeled
and pickled "sweet and sour". The firm crisp flesh was slashed in places
to allow penetration of the pickle. They appeared to have been picked
while still somewhat green, and were slightly sour with an interesting
slightly mango-like flavor. I have also purchased much smaller ones in
which the seeds were so small and soft they could be eaten along with
the flesh. Ingred: Spondias dulcis fruit, chili, sugar, salt, vinegar,
water, potassium sorbate, FD&C yellow #6.
June Plum Leaves: The leaves are edible. In
Indonesia, young tender leaves are used as a seasoning in preparations
cooked wrapped in banana leaves, and are steamed as a vegetable
accompaniment for salted fish and rice. In Thailand, tender leaves are
also eaten as a vegetable. In Costa Rica, more mature leaves are used in
salads, though they are fairly tart.
Forest & Kim Star
(cropped) distributed under license Creative Commons
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June plums have almost no fat, but also almost no protein. Their main nutritional contributions (per 100 grams) are 12 grams carbohydrates, calcium (5.7% RDI), phosphorous (6.7% RDI), and vitamin A (4.1% RDI).
June Plum fruit and leaf extracts are reported to offer significant antimicrobial and antioxidant properties. Cytotoxicity (used in cancer treatment) and thrombolytic properties (dissolving blood clots) are also reported.