What is a Water Apple?
Up close with the Water Apple
In a tropical country like the Philippines, one of those fruits that Filipinos anticipate during the summer season is the Water Apple or Watery Rose Apple. In Cebuano (a dialect used mainly in Cebu,one of the major cities in the Philippines) this fruit is called "TAMBIS". Definitely for Filipinos it makes summer worth-waiting for.
Some countries do not consider this fruit palatable but in fact they are very sweet when ripe and has this grayish to black or white and brown seeds on the inside. In some parts of the world they call this the BELL FRUIT because its shape resembles that of a bell or a pear. But here's the catchy thing about this fruit,this is neither a kind of apple nor a rose.It has a fruity,crispy flesh that will make you think you're eating the real apple.
Water Apple tree can yield about 5 lbs. of fruit each season depending on the maturity of the tree. When we talk about maturity,this tree can really last up to years. It can last from 5 to 10 years and can grow up to 10 feet or more.Now, to make this tree survive for a long time I know some of you may think that this tree is a high-maintenance one. But NO! it is not. It can grow on dry lands,that's why you can also find fruits of this kind in India. This tree can bear fruits without having the need to apply fruit-bearing fertilizers on it. But of course like any plant or tree, it needs water too but not too much.Water Apple is believed to have originated from Central Asia where the climate (Tropical or Sub-tropical) is more suitable for this type.
The month of March is when usually the flowers starts to bloom for this fruit. Scent of its flowers can attract bees and birds during the days. After roughly a month little fruits start to pop up ,hanging in the tree's branches and attracting bats this time during the nights Then you will start to notice the tiny fruits developing into its finest as weeks passed.
To harvest, what we do in our backyard is to have someone to climb up to the tree and do the thing. But most of the time we use a long wooden stick with round-netted tip to pick at the fruit (commonly known as dip net). Or if you can,you can climb up to the tree and pick and enjoy some for yourself. Which ever way you want it, this fruit is simply amazing and delicious.So, if you're traveling to the Philippines, then this fruit is definitely a must-try. During the season you can also find this at our local public markets sold in the fruit stands.
When we say fruits,we all expect it to have nutritional contents in it. And if you'll ask ,Does this fruit has any nutritional value?Then, the answer is YES.Water apple fruit has Vitamin C and fiber content based on studies on researches. Now we all know that Vitamin C can help our bodies fight against diseases. Its Fiber content can help lower cholesterol count according to studies conducted at Purdue University in Indiana. This fruit is also believed to be a diuretic and in some countries they use the leaves and the roots for some medicinal and therapeutical purposes.But do not try this without the proper knowledge and tools because the leaves and the roots of a Water Apple tree is believed to have harmful contents too.That's why I strongly suggest to seek medical help and not jump into therapeutic or medicinal options right away. Knowing this fruit has some nutritional value in it doesn't mean that using this for medicinal purpose is a GO. It is always best to seek professional care.
Varieties of this fruit are scattered all over the country.Since this fruit has never been widely introduced, some of this trees found in the Philippines are mostly in the wild before, where it grew? from the seeds that birds carries. But nowadays, a lot of propagating methods came up and one which works best for Water Apple tree is the method MARCOTING.Three of our trees in our backyard grew from a marcoted branch of a mother tree.And propagation plays a big role in producing varieties.
There are two varieties which are known widely, the white-fruited water apple and the red-fruited red apple which are both equally sweet and fruity.Whichever of these varieties you want to try, it will be totally great and I am sure you will enjoy this fruit.