Over 300 years of Spanish colonization in the Philippines helped shape what we are now as Filipinos and as a country. But the Spaniards didn’t only bring ideologies and religion to our islands. They also brought food. Well, at least, seeds for food.
Jocote trees originally hail from Central and Southern America (Mexico, Peru and the Caribbean Islands). They flourish under tropical climates, which is why they thrived when they were cultivated here in the Philippines. They’ve since earned the name Spanish plums or Siniguelas.
Personally, I think the best thing about the Siniguelas is that it requires no fuss at all to prepare and eat. They’re usually enjoyed as they are, skin and all (except the seed which is inedible), though some would prefer a little salt or vinegar or lime juice to go with it. The redder the Siniguelas, the riper and the sweeter it is. The green ones are still pretty delicious too, even if they’re more sour than sweet. It’s a natural anti-oxidant loaded with various vitamins and amino acids; and it fits right in your hand.
It’s a seasonal fruit, however, and its best produce comes during summer. It’s safe to expect them from April to early June.
Here in Tacloban, our closest supplier for Siniguelas are the Camotes Islands.
Visit Zamora street in our Downtown area, and you’ll have your pick of this lovely fruit from sidewalk vendors.