The wonderful health benefits of the chiku fruit
By Michelle Liew Tsui-Lin
The chiku weaves memories of me walking along the street towards my grandmother's home,
The street she used to live on were lined with these simple, but luscious fruit. I enjoyed picking these off the ground and determining whether or not they were edible.
Those that were had a sweet, though not overwhelming, taste.
Their easy availability on my street makes me ponder on why I never ate more of them. The little fruit stores many wonderful health perks. For those who've not tried these juicy edibles before, they can be enjoyed in many ways and won't disappoint.
An introduction to the chiku
The origins of the Chiku fruit
The chiku tree is a hardy, evergreen tree native to southern Mexico. During the Spanish colonization of the Philippines, it was introduced into the country.
The other name for the Chiku is the Sapodilla.. Sapodillas a relatively huge trees that can grow up to 30 ft or 98 meters. A tough tree, it's wind resistant. It's humble white flowers take on a bell shape when they bloom.
It's found in many Southeast Asian countries because they tend to grow well in humid, tropical environments.
The bark of the tree produces a sap named chicle (hence the quirky name for the fruit). The fruit itself, an ellipsoid berry, releases chicle when it is still unripe and has a firm, outer skin. The fully ripened fruit, however, has not chicle to spare.
How the Chiku fruit is grown : Chiku varieties
The fruit is grown in the brown sugar, prolific, russell and tikal varieties. A description of each type of chiku fruit and its taste is explained via the following table.
The brown sugar variety chiku fruit is medium to small. It is long and almost round. It has a light, scuffy brown skin.
Fragrant, sweet and rich, the fruit is slighltly granular.
This conical variety of the chiku is 21/2 to 31/2 incles long. It is a scuffy brown fruit that is almost smooth when it is mature.
Fragrant and smooth, this variety of the chiku is sweet.
This chiku is large and round, about 3 to 5 inches in diameter.
Pinkish and pleasant, its texture is somewhat granular.
Shaped like an ellipsis,it is light brown. It ripens early.
The tikal chiku has an excellent, smooth, sweet flavor.
The Health Benefits of the Chiku Fruit
Of all the fruits I have come across, the chiku is the most prolific, having astounding benefits that leave no parts of the body uncovered.
The chiku helps our eyesight.
Eating chiku greatly aids your vision with its high content of vitamin A, enabling your eyes to function well into old age.
Revitalizes the body
The chku provides high energy content through its supply of fructose and sucrose.
The chiku is anti-inflammatory
The chiku has anti-inflammatory properties that helps you to manage the health of your digestive tract. It
prevents tonsillitis and inflammatory conditions such as Irritable Bowel Syndrome, enteritis and gastritis.
It prevents constipation by making the colon resistant to infections.
It is a good laxative
The chiku prevents constipation. A good laxative, it is rich in dietary fibre.
It helps in the prevention of cancer
The tannin covered chiku has polyphenols which neutralize acids. Cancer thrives on acids, so this welcoming quality makes the chku a boon. It helps to maintain the health of mucus linings in the body by binding carcinogens.
It assists blood flow.
The chku assists blood flow because of its homeostatic properties. This means that it stops blood flow in the event of piles or injury. The seeds can be placed on small wounds for instant relief.
It promotes the growth of healthy bones.
The high mineral content of chiku helps in the development of bones. Minerals like calcium, phosphorus and iron are essential for maintaining the endurance of bones.
The chiku has high vitamin content
The high content of vitamins and minerals in the chiku are essential for maintaining optimal health.
Choosing and ripening a chiku
The right chiku has to be free from tiny holes. Holes may signal the presence of worms and other small insects. Put in a bag of rice, it ripens quickly.
How to eat the Chiku
Chiku can be enjoyed in a few ways, with the same benefits. Here are some wonderful suggestions.
It can be eaten on its own.
Chiku skin can be peeled off and its seeds discarded. Like an orange, it can be sliced lengthwise and the pulp dug out with a spoon.
You can make a chiku fruit bowl.
Chikus can be mixed with cherries, papayas and pineapple and nuts like walnuts or almonds to make a wonderful fruit bowl.
What about a milk shake?
The chiku fruit is mild and easy to swallow. About a quarter cup of chiku can be combined with three quarters of a cup of milk to make one chiku milkshake.
The milkshake has the benefits of both chiku and milk.
Try a chiku smoothie
Chocolate ice-cream with a chiku blended into a smoothie makes this a wonderful treat. Eliminate the ice-cream if you wish to!
Bake it in a pie.
Chikus can be baked with apples, lemon juice, orange juice and nutmeg in a delicious pie. Check out this delicious recipe.
How to eat the chiku fruit
Myths and fun facts about the chiku fruits
A few myths surround this humble fruit. a few corresponding fun facts should dispel them.
Myth : The chiku is fattening.
Fact: The chiku, because of its natural sweetness, can be used to control the body's natural craving for sugar.
Myth: The sap secreted by the chiku tree is poisonous.
Fact: The sap is actually gummy latex that can be used tomake chewing gum.
Myth :Dianetics shouldn't eat sweet fruits like the chiku.
Fact :Eating a fruit high in carbohydrates may increase blood sugar levels. However, diabetics needn't stop eating fruits altogether. Eating small amounts of high carbohydrate fruits has can have the same impact on blood sugar levels as eating more low carbohydrate fruits. It's all a matter of quantity!
Myth : The chiku fruit is poisonous.
Fact : The chiku may be a tropical fruit, but it most certainly can be eaten.
Devised by Joseph Spence, who traveled the world in search of new foods,epulaeryu poetry is poetry devoted to food. It has the following structure:
With 7 syllables in the first line, 5 in the second, 7 in the third and so on. It usually ends with an exclamation mark to the author’s favorite food.
I include an epulaeryu to the chiku, one of my favorite fruits.
Lovely berry that delights
Sweet, yet does not scare
Its humble shape,it does not fright
Zest beyond compare
Flavors that protect
The chiku is a humble fruit, yet its taste never fails to delight. If you haven't, don't forget to try one.
Copyright by Michelle Liew Tsui-Lin All Rights Reserved.
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