Santol is a tropical fruit native to coastal Southeast Asia. It is also commonly referred to as cotton fruit. The evergreen tree belongs to the Mahogany family. It is fast-growing and can reach a height of up to 50 meters. The Santol tree grows in humid tropical regions from sea level to an elevation of about 900 meters above. It grows better with rainfall distributed throughout the year, but it tolerates long, dry periods as well.
Santol tree is a very productive tree that can produce over 20,000 fruits in a year. The fruits are approximately the size of a regular apple. There are two varieties of santol – previously considered two different species – the yellow and the red variety. The difference is in the color; in that, the red variety’s leaves turn red before falling.
Depending on the variety, the skin of both varieties can either be a thin peel or a thick rind. The central pulp may be sweet or sour and contains inedible brown seeds. The ripe fruits are harvested by climbing and plucking by hand. Alternatively, a long stick with a forked end may be used to twist the fruits off. The pulp is eaten raw, cooked, candied, or made into marmalade.
How to Preserve Santol Fruit: 3 Proven Methods
The santol fruit can be preserved for a long time. Preserving it in sugar syrup is one method of preservation that is not only good for storage purposes but also good for consumption. So, if you want to learn this and other methods of preserving santol fruit, read on to learn more.
Method 1: Turn it into Ginataang Sinantolan
Sinatolan or ginataang santol is a Filipino dish wherein minced santol fruit, also known as cotton fruit, is cooked in coconut cream. Pork or other minced meat can be added to this delicacy. This dish is perfect when it is prepared spicy. This is why Thai chili is an important condiment. This delicacy is best eaten with warm rice. Below are the ingredients you require:
- 4 pieces of santol fruit (peeled, with the seeds removed)
- Minced pork
- 3 cups of coconut cream
- 2 pieces of long green pepper
- 5 pieces of Thai chili
- 3 tablespoons of shrimp paste
- 1 medium of red onion
- 3 cloves of crushed garlic
- 3 tablespoons of cooking oil
Before you cook your santol fruit
Make sure that the santol is carefully prepared. Peel off the skin and remove its seeds. You will also need to mince the santol (cutting the fruit into very small pieces). A food processor can come in handy if available.
Please note that you need to extract the juice from the minced santol. This would remove all the sourness from the fruit, allowing the minced santol to absorb more coconut cream while cooking.
You can use either ground pork or chopped minced pork. It is usually better if your pork contains lots of fat.
The shrimp paste helps bring out the overall flavor of the dish. Start with just two tablespoons until there is a need for more. Chili is central to this dish, so make sure you include a generous portion while cooking.
Direction for preparation
- Mince the santol using a food processor. You can do so manually.
- Place the minced santol in a cheesecloth and squeeze very well until all the juices are out.
- Prepare the cooking oil in a pan and add saute garlic and onion.
- Once the onion changes color, it is time to add the ground pork. Cook until the pork turns light brown.
- Add your minced santol and cook for another 5 minutes.
- Pour the coconut milk into the pan. Allow to boil for a few minutes and then stir. Cook until the liquid is reduced to half.
- Add other condiments like shrimp paste and Thai chili. Continue to cook until all the liquid is gone.
- Serve on a plate and enjoy.
Method 2: Make pickled santol
Here is another way to preserve your santol fruit for long-lasting use: pickled santol. Pickled santol fruit is a refreshing juice that can be kept for many months under the right conditions. Here’s what you need:
Things you will need
- Santol fruit
- Purified/clean jar (preferably clear glass jar)
- Peel off the skin of the santol fruit. You can use a sharp knife or a kitchen peeler for this.
- Make halfway cuts into the santol fruit to enable them to absorb the mixture easily.
- Make and put water, vinegar, and salt together in the clean jar.
- Squeeze the santol a bit before ducking it into the vinegar, water, and salt mixture (to easily absorb the mixture).
- This will last up to 2-3 weeks. Put it in the refrigerator to preserve the freshness.
Method 3: Make juice from your santol fruit
You can preserve your santol fruits by turning them into a healthy and nutritious juice. Below are the ingredients to use:
- 4-6 pieces of santol fruits
- 3 cups of water
- 1 1/2 cup of refined brown sugar
- Ice cubes
Steps to follow
- Peel the santol fruits. Remove the seeds and dip them into 1 cup of water.
- Cut the santol into tiny bits and immersed them in 1 cup of water.
- Squeeze the juice from the soaked seeds and add them to the minced santol.
- Prepare a syrup by boiling 3 cups of water with 1 cup of sugar.
- Pour the syrup into the water containing the santol and allow to boil for a few minutes.
- Allow cooling before transferring to the refrigerator.
Benefits of santol fruit
- Prevents cancer: The santol fruit is very rich in phytonutrients, thereby helping to prevent the growth of cancer cells. It also prevents certain types of cancers such as leukemia.
- Prevents heart diseases: The presence of rich antioxidants and vitamins helps improve blood flow to the heart, thereby reducing the risk of cardiovascular diseases.
- Reduces cholesterol: The fiber-rich content of the santol fruit removes excess cholesterol from the body.
- Treats allergies: The santol fruit is good for all manner of allergies. Its sandorinic and bryonotic acid content eliminates allergens from the body.
So that is how to preserve santol fruit in various ways. Go ahead and fun by experimenting with any of the santol preservation techniques highlighted in this guide.