FIRST FRUIT FRIDAY: Lanzones

Once upon a time, sturdy trees bearing clusters of yellow grapes grew in abundance in a kingdom. Its fruit, however was inedible. Anyone who would eat the fruit would suddenly fall dead. One time, a great famine took over the kingdom and their supplies quickly diminished. All that was left were the poisoned fruits. Just when all hope was lost, a lady came, took a piece of the yellow fruit, pinched and peeled it and took a bite. The people who witnessed it were distraught, knowing she could die any moment. When she didn’t, the people looked at her in wonder. She then explained that she was a fairy and that she had taken away the poison of the fruit. Since then, the fruit has been called LANZONES from the word lason which means poison.

Or so the legend goes.

Lanzones trees thrive in warm (but damp) climate, especially here down south and the sweetest ones are said to be found in Camiguin Island, where they hold a week-long Lanzones Festival every October. (They say the volcanic soil in the island is the reason for its taste)

While a seasonal fruit, an odd one or two stalls in downtown Tacloban always have Lanzones on stock.

This grape-like fruit’s thin skin is not edible and easily peeled off. I should warn you though; be careful of its resin which can be sticky. And don’t be so quick to dispose of them; they could be used as incense to ward off insects.

The fruit itself is sweet when ripe and a little sour if it’s not yet in its season. It’s rich in vitamins and antioxidants and apparently helps with bowel concerns and weight loss. Don’t swallow it whole once you’ve peeled the yellow-brown skin; the seed is bitter.

Maybe that’s where the fairy sealed all the poison?

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