Tuesday, April 29, 2014

Y is for Yantok: Yummy Fruits A-Z

Yantok fruit is the
size of a small plum
Yantok trees (also known as rattan) are a native species of the palm family and grow in the mountains and tropical forests of the Philippines. The fruit, which has a funky snake-like covering as hard as an egg shell, is said to be plump with juice, but possibly the tartest fruit around. If you are craving something sour in the Philippines, yantok fruit is your 'go to' food, but it is too tart for some and an acquired taste. 


Do you ever crave
something sour?

Some claim that pickled yantok addresses the 'too sour' problem. This seems rather odd to me, since pickling requires adding a lot of vinegar and salt, which I'm thinking would increase the tartness...but maybe not. The result (it is claimed) is a tasty appetizer (see recipe). One person online also suggested dipping the fruit in equal amounts of salt and sugar. Others claim that smaller yantok fruit is sweeter in taste. Hmm....good to know if I visit the Philippines. 

Yantok ripening on the vine.

Yantok fruit comes from a tropical palm more known for the (rattan) furniture and handiwork made from the plant's wood canes than anything else. However, the tree is also harvested for the fruit. In addition to a food source, dyes and varnishes can be made from the fruit, which contains a red resin called Dragon's Blood (a dye also used in violin construction).

Dried yantok/rattan canes
Yantok fruit is grown in home 
gardens, sold in local markets, and considered a Filipino delicacy. But unless you have been to the Philippines, it is not likely you have tried this fruit. However, this type of palm fruit in general is grown all over Southeast Asia, with native varieties in Africa, Asia and Australia.

Nutritionally, yantok fruit contains vitamin C, calcium, and iron. Other claims are its use as a treatment for diarrhea and cure against coughing.

Yantok Recipe

"Watch those fingers!"


"Pickled Yantok"

1-2 cups yantok fruit
1 cup vinegar
1/4 cup salt
1 jar


Peel yantok fruit carefully. That hard snake-like skin can make your fingers bleed! Wash fruit in cold running water. Set aside.

In bowl, dissolve salt in vinegar. Then pour into jar. Add fruit to jar and seal tightly. Let stand 1 to 2 days. Serve as appetizer. 

"Pucker up for yantok!"




Sources: http://www.choosephilippines.com/eat/exotic/651/Squirm-your-way-to-your-first-Yantok/
http://jennibailey.com/philippine-lifestyle/yantok/; http://www.marketmanila.com/archives/littuko-rattan-fruit; http://casaveneracion.com/rattan-fruit/; https://www.google.com/#q=Calamus+manillensis+is+native+to
http://www.fao.org/docrep/003/y2783e/y2783e15.htm 


28 comments:

  1. These are hilarious now you've reached the really tricky letters. I love how you refuse to be beaten! (I even have a sneaking suspicion you're making some of them up..."Dragon's blood which is used to make violins" ...Hmmm?)

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    1. ha-ha. No kidding, Helen. There is such a dye (at least according to online sources) and a brief mention that J.K. Rowling may have used this in her books!

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  2. I love the pic of the puckered lime! I feel very lucky that the palms here in Egypt grow dates, which are sweet and delicious. No snake-skin covered sour balls for me! lol

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  3. Oh wow! Those really do look hard to peel, and taste!

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    1. I'm such a clutz with kitchen tools, I'd be the one to bloody my fingers!

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  4. Everybody knows Rattan. Did we have any idea where it came from? Nooo. Thanks for the enlightenment. Puckering up for tomorrow's Z!

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    1. Ha-ha. Yantok was fun to research, not so fun to eat I suspect.

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  5. Now that's certainly one unique-looking fruit!

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  6. I'm already puckering up my entire face just thinking about trying this. haha. I wonder if it's like eating a lemon?

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    1. I had the impression it's worse than lemons. Still, I'm game to try....once.

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  7. What an interesting fruit. But when I want something sour, a lemon can do the job.

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  8. I wonder if one gets "paper" cuts from taking this peel off-wow you have to love this fruit to want to peel it. I still would want to try it even if I end up looking like the lime

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  9. In one of my early developmental stages I studied Tagalog and my teacher presented the class with a taste of yantok. Thanks but I'll take lemons. However, the yantok is so beautiful.

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    1. Neat, Lee!! So far you're the only in the group to have tried this fruit. Also googeled Tagalog....have never heard of this language or Filipino people. That must have been interesting.

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  10. Those fruits do look rather...scary. If I came up on one too quickly, I think it'd make me jump.

    But rattan and dragon's blood? I think it's my new favorite fruit.

    Liz A. from Laws of Gravity

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  11. Funny, Liz :) I hope you get a chance to try yantok.

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  12. I've never ever heard of this fruit before.
    It looks quite "menacing"... LOL
    Writer In Transit

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    1. Hi Michelle. Thanks! It sure is a strange fruit!

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  13. What an interesting fruit, Sharon. It is rather beautiful and has so many uses, but I think I won't rush to try this one. Love all I have learned here. Thanks, Maria, Delight Directed Living

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    1. Thanks, Maria. One more day to go in the A-Z. What a crazy month this has been!

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  14. Hi Sharon .. what an interesting looking fruit - and thank you for the warning re the bloody fingers ... I'd like to try it .. but I think I'd add sugar to the pickling liquid ... and that Renee Zelwiger pout is brilliant ...

    Cheers and on to Z .. which is posted I see ... Hilary

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  15. Thank you, Hilary. Isn't Renee a cute actress? Have always loved her facial expressions.

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