The Philippine santol, Sandoricum koetjape, is a medium-sized fruit tree that grows in tropical climates. The Santol - the national fruit of the Philippines was included in its list of the country's famous fruits, along with other popular ones like mangoes and pomelos.
The santol is a fast-growing, straight-trunked, pale-barked tree 50 to 150 ft (15-45 m) tall, branched close to the ground, and buttressed when old. Young branchlets are densely brown-hairy. The leaves are simple, alternate, or clustered at the ends of branches; large, sometimes 15 in (38 cm) long, but more often 3.2-9.8 in (8-25 cm); ovate to oblong, coarsely serrate; pointed at the tip and rounded or cordate at base. The leaf stalk is 1/2-3 in (1.5-7.5 cm) long. The leaf is thick, stiff, and leathery to touch, pale green on the top (dorsal) surface and paler on the bottom (ventral) surface; veins are not prominent; 5 to 7 lateral veins emerge from the petiole at each side.
Flowers are small, about 0.4 in (1 cm) wide, clustered in panicles that can extend to 6-15 in (15-38 cm). Petals are white; stamens number 12-20. Fruit is oblong or ovoid; 1/2-3/4 in (1.5-2 cm) long and almost as wide, with a rough surface and a fleshy, crisp texture when ripe. Color is light yellow to greenish-yellow at the start but changes to orange or deep yellow when mature. The fruit has a sour taste with very little sugar, hence it is usually used as an ingredient in preparing dishes such as jams. Seeds are numerous and mottled or brownish, with a flattened oblong shape. The fruit is eaten raw or cooked. It is usually combined with other fruits to make various delicacies and preserves.
A few leaves are pounded together with coconut milk, sugar, and cornstarch, then boiled until it thickens into a dark green-colored sweet soup called "santolado". The soup can also be made into other flavors. Santol seeds are used as a spice after being roasted, fried, or boiled. They are usually combined with other spices then used in preparing beef dishes and even desserts like halo-halo, cake, or ice cream.
The fruit is purported to have medicinal properties, including as a cure for diarrhea. The seed's oil is used in soap manufacturing and as a substitute for machine lubricants. The tree has ornamental value, especially when it turns a golden yellow color during fall. However, because the fruit has a short shelf life after harvest, people prefer to consume ripe fruits rather than store them long-term.
The santol was mentioned in Philippine folk songs, which are attributed to Manggagaway, a native Negrito tribe that once lived in the rainforests of the Philippines. These were passed down orally over generations and have been preserved until present times.
Global santol production
The santol fruit is a tropical fruit that is native to Southeast Asia. It is widely cultivated in the region and is also grown in other parts of the world, including Africa, India, and South America. The santol fruit is a member of the Sapindaceae family and its scientific name is Sandoricum koetjape.
The santol fruit is a round or oval-shaped fruit that can be either green or yellow in color. The flesh of the fruit is white and contains numerous small seeds. The taste of the santol fruit is sour and acidic, with a slightly sweet flavor. The santol fruit is a popular ingredient in Southeast Asian cuisine and is often used in salads, soups, and curries. It is also sometimes used as a flavoring for beverages such as tea and coffee.
Global production of the santol fruit is estimated to be around 1.5 million tons annually. Indonesia is the largest producer of fruit, followed by India, Thailand, and Vietnam. Other major producers include Brazil, China, and the Philippines.
The santol fruit is widely available in supermarkets and grocery stores in Southeast Asia. It can also be purchased online from a number of different vendors. The santol fruit has a long history of cultivation in Southeast Asia and is an important part of the region's cuisine and traditional medicine. Fruit is a valuable source of nutrients and has a range of health benefits.