Wood apple nutrition, proven health benefits, uses and recipes

The scientific name of wood apple include Feronia limonia, Feronia elephantum, Limonia acidissima, Schinus limonia. It is also known as Kavat, Kurd apple, Monkey fruit, Kaith (Hindi), Kotha (Gujarati), Velaga (Telegu), Katbel (Bengali), Belavu (Kannada), Kovit (Marathi), Kapitha (Sanskrit).

Wood apple tree is native to India, Sri Lanka, Bangladesh, Pakistan and eastern parts of Java. It also grows in Thailand, Malaysia, Cambodia, and other parts of Southeast Asia.It is large tree growing to 9 metres (30 ft) tall, with rough, spiny bark. The leaves are pinnate, with 5-7 leaflets, each leaflet, with a citrus-scent when crushed. The fruit is a berry 5–9 cm diameter, and may be sweet or sour. It has a very hard rind which can be difficult to crack open, and contains sticky brown pulp and small white seeds. The fruit looks similar in appearance to fruit of Bael.

The texture and taste of wood apple are quite similar to Tamarind. It has sweet, pungent, lemony and acidic flavor. Often, the small wood apples taste significantly more tart and sour than the large ones.

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Wood apple fruit nutrition value

A 100 gram of wood apple has 134 calories. It contain

64.2g Moisture

7.1g Protein

3.7g Fat

1.9g Minerals

5g Fiber

18.1g Carbohydrates

61IU Carotene

3mg Vitamin C

.04mg Thiamin

.17mg Riboflavin

.8mg Niacin

130mg Calcium

110mg Phosphorous

.48g Iron

41mg Magnesium

.21mg Chromium

.18mg Manganese

.10mg Zinc

How to check ripeness of wood apple?

As wood apples ripen, they go from a greenish white color to developing a tough, brown speckled wooden shell that looks and feels similar to tree bark.

To gauge the fruit’s edibility, give it the “bounce test” by dropping the wood apple on a hard surface—if it bounces, it’s not yet ripe. If it merely falls to the ground with a soft thud, it’s ready to eat. Ripe fruits also emit a sugary yet musky aroma.

The pulp of unripe wood apple is a pale gold color. Ideal, fully ripe wood apples are light brown to a toffee brown color.

Traditional medicinal properties and uses of wood apple

Wood apples are often used in preventing or curing scurvy, carminative, and act as digestive stimulant. The leaves of wood apple tree are used for indigestion, diarrhea, dysentery and haemorrhoids. Wood apple greatly promote bowel health.

As per the book, “Encyclopedia of World Medicinal Plants,” the pulp mixed with cardamom, honey and cumin seeds are usd as remedy for liver cirrhosis, piles, and diarrhea. Traditional healers have also prescribed the fruit to fight breast and uterine cancer.

Scientific proven health benefits of wood apple

A study has shown that the pulp of wood apple prevents lipid oxidation, act as potent natural antioxidant and antimicrobial agent.

Another study has shown that the wood apple fruit aid in liver health, has liver protective activity against carbon tetrachloride may be due to the cell membrane stabilization, hepatic cell re-generation and activation of antioxidative enzymes such as glutathione reductase, glutathione peroxidase, super-oxide dismutase and catalase.

A study has shown that wood apple fruit pulp may have reversible antispermatogenic and antisteroidogenic properties, and could partially support the traditional use as male contraceptive, which lower sperm count, mobility and viability. These effects were reversed with no side effects after 45 days from treatment.

Another study confirmed that the consumption of wood apple fruit pulp is beneficial in controlling an excess of glucose in the bloodstream, often associated with diabetes mellitus (hyperglycaemia) and abnormally elevated plasma lipid level (hyperlipidaemia) in fluoride-induced toxicity. Since fibres, phytosterols, saponins, polyphenols, flavonoids and total ascorbic acid are known to influence both carbohydrate and lipid metabolisms. As it helps to lower those elevated levels of  cholesterol and lipids in the blood plasma, it reduces the risk of coronary artery disease.

How to Open or Cut wood apple fruit?

Wood apple is tougher to open than some of the most high-maintenance nuts. To get to the pulp, hold the fruit in place and give it soft, consistent blows with a hammer. Others simply pound the fruit on concrete. It needs to be carefully hack, while while rotating the fruit until it cracks open.

Storage tips

Wood apples ripen post-harvesting. If necessary, keep the fruit at room temperature where it will ripen over the course of 10 days. Wood apple pulp has a remarkably long shelf life, as it will keep for two months if placed in the refrigerator.

To freeze the fruit, extract the pulp and mix it with lemon juice. Store in the freezer, where it will keep until the following season.

Wood apple recipes, ideas and uses

Try making wood apple ice-cream by mixing the fruit pulp with coconut pulp and add honey to sweeten it. Freeze and enjoy healthy natural ice cream at home.

Add wood apple to your milk shakes, juice, smoothies or salad.

Make jam or preserve out of it’s fruit pulp.

Blend the pulp of wood apple with chili, salt, cumin seeds, cinnamon  and bit honey to make healthy wood apple dip or chutney.

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