Otaheite Apple

Who’s excited about this post? I know I am! We always start with what the fruit/plant/herb is about but let’s switch it up a bit! Let’s take a sneak peek into its benefits first.

Jamaican apple, on a white background, one cut in half

Top 3 Health Benefits of Otaheite Apple

Flavourful and juicy! Let’s not forget sweet and nutritious! At this moment in time, we all need to be meticulous with our health, and to do that we have to mind what we eat or consume.

So instead of something greasy or unhealthy try something that is tasty and nutritious! You see the title but how many of you actually know of this fruit?

Where are my Jamaicans? You may see this fruit in its season all the time! What about the rest of my h-steppers?! But before we get more into what this fruit is let’s appreciate some top and outstanding benefits as kick-off!

  1. Improves immune system

Otaheite apples are potent in vitamin A and C that boosts the immune system. A strong immune system helps your body to fight against infections, toxins, viruses, bacteria, and more!

Your immune system is made up mostly of the thymus, bone marrow, lymph nodes, white blood cells, antibodies, the complement system, the lymphatic system, and the spleen.

For example, vitamin A and C help to make more T Cells (born in the bone marrow but matures in the thymus and are a part of the adaptive immune system.) in your body where it is cytotoxic- this means it directly kills any virus-infected cell in your body- hence, the name ‘killer T cells’.

Some T cell roles include: kills infected host cells (inclusive of cancer cells), activates other immune cells e.g. cytokines (helper T cells), and regulating the immune response. Amazing right? And that was just for the creation of T cells!

Vitamin A and C help with other functions of the immune system too, therefore eating an Otaheite apple is quite nutritious for you!

  1. A powerful antioxidant

Vitamin C is a wonderful antioxidant as well as; flavonols, phenolic compounds, sesquiterpenes, and carotenoids which are all present in Otaheite Apple.

And by now we must know how important these antioxidants are. Don’t recall? Don’t worry let’s review! Antioxidants inhibit the process of oxidation. Oxidation is a chemical reaction that produces free radicals that are dangerous for cells in your body.

Where they cause health problems like cancer, cataract, and even cardiovascular and inflammatory disease.

But how do antioxidants work? Antioxidants track down free radicals and neutralize their destructive effects. They do this by giving up some of their free electrons in order to pair with the unpaired valance electron that a free radical has, which acts as a power-off button. This aids to keep more of the body’s cells healthy and less susceptible to diseases like cancer. Read More

  1. Improves Vision

There are a series of nutrients or minerals or compounds that helps to improve eye health. However, vitamin A, vitamin C, carotenoids, riboflavin (vitamin B2) are the top components found in Otaheite apples that improve your eye health/vision. T

here are other minerals and compounds found in the fruit that assist in this area as well- for example, phenolic compounds.  These components build better cell strength and act as antioxidants that neutralize free radicals that increase the creation of cells that cause eye disease- for example, cataracts.

Amazing right? Now that we’ve gotten an insight of what some of its benefits look like, let’s dive right into what is Otaheite apple, aliases, its uses, its season, and many more. Ready? Let’s go!

Otaheite apples in a basket at the market

What is Otaheite Apple?

The fruit

The fruit has a smooth rosy to dark red color/crimson as its skin (sometimes a purple hue can be seen), while the inside has a white pulp.

It has only one seed (brown) that is about the size of a boiled egg yolk. The fruit is shaped like a teardrop (it resembles the shape of an avocado or pear), obovoid, or bell-shaped but it’s quite a treat!

What does it taste like?

  • It has a mildly sweet flavor with a hint of rose that is quite juicy/watery.

What’s the texture?

  • It varies from crispy to spongy.

The fruit is grown in tropical and sub-tropical areas where it is now widely grown in the Caribbean, Central America, and the Pacific islands.

Otaheite apple tree

Brief History of the Otaheite Apple/ Jamaican Apple

The tree originates from Malaysia right in the region of Malesia (a region that is identified as a floristic location for crops between the Indomalayan and Australasian border/zone).

It was introduced to regions in India, the Philippines, and other areas of South Asia and Asia-Pacific (including Tahiti, Hawaii, the Cook Islands, Guam, Fiji, Nauru, and Niue) then to East Africa by Portuguese voyagers.

It is said to later be brought to Jamaica and other parts of the Caribbean thereafter by Captain Bligh in 1793, from Tahiti. Hence, the name ‘Otaheite’ where a fun fact is- Tahiti was once called Otaheite!

Aliases

Different countries where this fruit is grown gives a plethora of names for this fruit. But the most popular names are as follows:

  • Otaheite apple
  • Malay apple
  • Malay rose apple
  • Mountain apple
  • Rose apple
  • Jamaican apple
  • Jambu bol
  • Pink satin-ash
  • Pommerac (derived from pomme Malac (Malacca- region in Malaysian), meaning “Malayan apple” in French)
  • Water apple

Otaheite apples on a white background

Uses of Otaheite Apple/ Malay Apple

If you ever wondered if Malay apple is edible, then yes, it is! It is nutritious and has popular uses such as:

  • Raw consumption
  • Beverages (e.g. wine, juices- alcoholic and non-alcoholic)
  • Cooked in meals
  • Sauces, jellies, jams, syrups
  • Medicinal purposes
  • Hair growth
  • Salads (the flowers)
  • Construction and other materials in Hawaii (it’s wood)
  • Treatment for dry tongue in Malaysia (leaves are crushed into a powdered form)

How to eat Otaheite Apple

Many people eat the fruit raw, and how to do that is by washing the fruit then use a knife to peel the skin (optional- as many eat the fruit with the skin). At this point, you may decide whether to just eat the fruit whole until you meet up on the seed (discard or germinate to plant) or slice up the fruit then discard the seed, after which you eat the slices and bon appétit!

If you prefer to eat the fruit cooked in meals other forms like sauces/jellies then there are numerous recipes for you to explore!

Season and storage

Yes, this fruit is seasonal! So, you should grab the opportunity to buy them as soon as they are in season. But not too much because they can’t be stored for too long. It typically yields twice per year, sometimes even thrice!

This usually happens in the spring and then the fall/winter season. Therefore, you can start seeing these fruits as early as April for spring in some regions. This is so because in some zones the fruit bears from the tree quicker than some.

 But in Jamaica at the moment (late January), where it’s still considered the winter season, you can see the abundance of the Otaheite apple in the local markets or a street vendor near you, especially in St. Catherine and Kingston areas. If you see this fruit in your area right now, let us know! Don’t be afraid to drop your comments, we love reading them!

Storage

Now let’s talk about the storage. Keeping them whole in your refrigerator you will realize- if you have experience with the fruit- that it only lasts up to about 4 days before they start to wither or rot.

So, because its shelf life is about 10-14 days, a recommendation/suggestion is to slice the fruit and put it in a zip resealable bag then store it in the freezer or refrigerator (however, in the refrigerator it will rot faster unless the skin is peeled). Using this method the fruit will remain fresher for a period of time. DISCLAIMER: Please do not keep the fruit in the zipper bag for more than two weeks!

Other Health Benefits of Otaheite Apple/ Jamaican Apple

Because the fruit is rich in nutrients, minerals, and other components- like calcium, iron, traces of protein, Vitamin A, Vitamin B (1, 2, 3) Vitamin C, phosphorous, fiber, flavonols, phenolic compounds, sesquiterpenes, and carotenoids- example carotene- it provides the following benefits: Read More.

 

  • Improves circulation
  • Helps to regulate blood pressure
  • Hair growth
  • Improves skin health
  • Builds stronger cells, bones, blood vessels, cartilage, muscles, and teeth
  • Prevents inflammation (e.g. dysentery- colon inflammation)
  • Boosts energy
  • Improves nervous, cardiovascular, and digestive system
  • May assists with diabetes- blood sugar regulation
  • Aids in weight loss

That means we introduced you to about 13 health benefits of Otaheite apple. Amazing right? You probably sense my enthusiasm throughout the article about this fruit. That’s because it’s just amazing and as a side note- I am eating one right now while writing this article! Now, don’t be jealous! Go see if there are any near you! You can get them at your local farmer’s market or you can always try online! Until next time walk well! Meaning is, be safe.

Au revoir and bon appétit!

Other Exotic Fruits 

Jamaican apples on a grey background

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