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Seasonal fruits in the Philippines


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The Philippines, a tropical paradise, is home to a diverse array of fruits, each with its unique taste, texture, and seasonality. This comprehensive guide explores the variety of fruits available in the Philippines throughout the year, emphasizing their health benefits and cultural significance.

January to March

  • Chico (Sapodilla): A brown-skinned fruit around 4-5 cm wide with sweet and grainy brown flesh. Its rich, sweet taste is often compared to brown sugar or caramel. It is a small, sweet fruit rich in antioxidants, iron, calcium, and potassium.
  • Mandarin Orange: A bright orange colored fruit with a thin, easy to peel skin. It has a refreshing sweet and tangy citrus flavor. Segments easily separate for a convenient snack on-the-go. Mandarin orange is high in Vitamins A, B, and C.
  • Caimito (Star Apple): A round, purple-skinned fruit about 5 cm wide with a thick skin and star pattern when sliced. The translucent pulp tastes sweet and mildly acidic, similar to grapes. It helps in digestion and is fibrous with good phosphorus content.

April to June

  • Duhat (Java Plum): A small, oval-shaped fruit with thin, deep purple skin and juicy, bittersweet yellow flesh. It is known for aiding in digestion and diabetes management.
  • Mango: An oblong shaped fruit with a thick, smooth yellow/orange skin. The juicy, soft pulp has a sublime tropical flavor, combining sweetness and tartness. Often described as the "king" of Philippine fruits. Mangoes are a significant source of fiber, antioxidants, and Vitamin C.
  • Melon: Round or oval shape with thick or netted rind. Its sweet, juicy flesh comes in white, green, orange and other colors. Melon is rich in dietary fiber, vitamin K, potassium, and vitamins C & B.
  • Watermelon: A large, oval fruit with thick green rind and sweet, red flesh dotted with black seeds. Hydrating with high water content and rich in vitamins A, C, and antioxidants.
  • Pineapple: Has spiky, green leaves sprouting from golden yellow flesh. The multiple diamond-shaped eyes on the skin must be trimmed. The ripe fruit has an intense sweetness balanced by tangy tropical flavor. Pineapples are good for digestion and bone health.

Banana season in the Philippines

Banana season in the Philippines is essentially year-round due to the country's tropical climate, which is ideal for banana cultivation. However, the peak production period often occurs from April to June. This is when bananas are most abundant and prices are generally lower due to the higher supply. Remember, though, that specific harvest times can vary slightly depending on the region and the banana variety.

July to September

  • Durian: Infamously known for its pungent odor belying its smooth, creamy flesh with bittersweet flavor and hint of almonds. Its thorny outer shell hides rich yellow flesh traditionally considered an aphrodisiac. Durian is nutrient-rich, potentially reducing cancer risk and preventing heart diseases.
  • Lanzones: A round, yellow fruit about 2-3 cm wide with smooth, thin skin surrounding sweet, aromatic white flesh dotted with seeds. High in fiber, aiding in digestive health, and rich in Vitamin A.
  • Rambutan: A round, hairy red and green fruit about 3-6 cm wide. Underneath the leathery peel is translucent, juicy flesh that is sweet and slightly acidic. Loaded with potassium and Vitamin C.
  • Santol: A round, green fruit about 5-7 cm wide with a thick, bitter skin and sweet, juicy white segments. Some studies have found that santol may have antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, and antibacterial properties. However, more research is needed to verify them.

October to December

  • Atis (Sugar Apple): A heart-shaped green fruit about 5 cm wide with knobby, creamy white flesh tasting like custard apple. It is a source of calcium, phosphorus, and fiber, regulating blood pressure and sugar levels.
  • Guyabano (Soursop): An oval green fruit up to 30 cm long with soft spikes on the skin. Its creamy white pulp has a delicate fruity flavor.

    Soursop is a tropical fruit that has a sweet and sour taste, similar to a combination of pineapple, banana, and citrus. Soursop may have many health benefits, such as:

    It is rich in antioxidants, which can help protect the cells from oxidative stress and inflammation.
    It contains nutrients including vitamins C and B (including thiamin, riboflavin and niacin) as well as minerals: calcium, phosphorus, and iron.
    It may have anti-inflammatory and analgesic properties, which can help relieve pain and swelling.
    It may have anticancer effects, as some studies have shown that it can inhibit the growth of certain types of cancer cells.

    However, more research is needed to confirm its safety and efficacy in humans.

Year-Round Fruits

  • Banana: A long, curved yellow fruit with thick smooth skin and sweet starchy flesh. A superb source of potassium, aiding heart health and digestion.
  • Papaya: Shaped like a pear, it has greenish-orange skin and sweet, musky tasting orange or red flesh with round black seeds inside.
  • Coconuts, a staple in the Filipino diet, are abundant year-round. Shaped like a round brown sphere up to 30 cm wide with thick fibrous husk outside the hard shell. The clear coconut water inside provides electrolytes, while its white meat is packed with medium-chain triglycerides beneficial for heart health. This versatile fruit is used in various dishes, drinks, and even in natural remedies.

The Philippines also boasts other notable fruits like Jackfruit (Langka), Makopa (Java Apple), and Sampaloc (Tamarind), each with unique flavors and health benefits. The Jackfruit, versatile in its use, is rich in Vitamin C and dietary fiber. Makopa is a good source of Vitamin C, dietary fiber, calcium, and potassium, while Sampaloc is known for its medicinal properties, especially as a laxative and for reducing fevers.

The seasonal availability of these fruits not only ensures fresh produce but also supports local communities and farmers, making it a sustainable choice for consumers. Additionally, the health benefits of these fruits, ranging from boosting the immune system to aiding digestion, make them a valuable addition to a balanced diet.

In summary, the Philippines offers a rich tapestry of fruits, each with its own season, flavor, and health benefits. From the sweet and tangy Mangos of summer to the creamy Guyabano of the rainy season, there is always something fresh and delicious to enjoy in this tropical paradise.

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