Carambola!

Balimbing in the basket!

Balimbing in the basket!

What to do with Balimbing

North of our house just some 15 meters away is a balimbing (carambola) tree that seem to fruit all year round. To make the harvesting of fruits easier, we decided to prune the tree. We picked the fruits from the fallen branches and collected a basket of fruits.

The fruits of this tree are not very sweet when ripe and neither are they sour when unripe. Nevertheless, the ripe fruits are very juicy and have a beautiful scent.

Freshly baked Balimbing cake!

Freshly baked Balimbing cake!

Balimbing Jam

I decided to make balimbing jam one evening. I collected the ripe fruits, cleaned them and cut them crosswise about 1-2mm thick and removed the seeds in the process. Then I placed them in a sauce pan together with some grated ginger, kinugay (muscovado sugar) and a dash of cinnamon powder. I boiled this concoction, them simmered gently for several minutes until thick. The result is a jam that goes very well with bread as well as with oatmeal.

Balimbing tarts fresh from the pugon!

Balimbing tarts fresh from the pugon!

Balimbing Tarts and Cakes

The balimbing jam can also be used as filling for tarts. Penny and I experimented with a modified pie crust recipe. We used the balimbing jam as filling and topped the tarts with chopped cashew nuts. The result was absolutely delicious! Of course, we just had to try making cake with the balimbing too!

I used the balimbing jam and made the cake following a modified apple-cinnamon cake recipe. The balimbing cake came out very good, resembling the taste of raisin cake. Next time, I will add some cashew nuts or peanuts to the cake which will definitely make it taste much better and improve the texture.

Butterflies eating chesa fruits.

Butterflies eating chesa fruits.

Next time, I’ll try experimenting with the fruits of the Chesa (tisa) tree just beside our house. Like the balimbing, this tree seems to fruit all year round and since no one is interested in eating the chesa fruit, it’s such a pity seeing the fruits fall from the tree and rot away, however, it is quite nice seeing all the huge butterflies gather to eat the fruits.

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The Home Garden

Dried cocoa beans and seedlings.

Dried cocoa beans and seedlings.

Some of the plants I’m particularly fond of here are: Ylang-ylang – we have a tree that is now about 2 meters high and yet to flower; Cocoa – we have several seedlings growing in pots and in the garden, thanks to our neighbor Charing for sharing; Lanzones – I am not sure how old these two lanzones trees are but they are probably still quite young (less than 5 years), and we doubt that they would bear fruit in Baclayon. The nearby island of Camiguin is where lanzones flourish (in Mambajao); Guyabano – there are two small guyabano trees near the front gate and one showed signs of flowering but no fruits yet.

The trees are found under coconut and mahogany trees which might account for why they are having a very difficult time growing. We have plans of transplanting them; Langka – Four langka trees but only one has been fruiting. We’ve trimmed all four and have made slashes at the base of the trees which supposedly encourage fruiting. We shall see about that!

Banana – There are so many banana trees growing everywhere so if you love bananas then this is paradise! There is also a special technique of harvesting the banana fruits. Trevor thought it was a simple process of cutting down the tree, which he promptly did, and so he ended up with all the banana fruits flying all over the place!

The heart of the carnaba banana.

The heart of the carnaba banana.

Anyway, I will write about this special technique of harvesting or cutting down banana trees (a process called “pagtutuba” which pertains only to banana trees)next time.

Calamansi or lemonsito – There is one citrus plant that is now about 3 feet high and has not yet showed any signs of flowering. I have asked our neighbor Simeon for a marcott of one of his citrus trees. Trevor and I are quite fond of citrus, and we plan to replace some of the banana trees with citrus trees. We already have seedlings of lemon, oranges, limes and grapefruit.

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Balimbing and Tambis – At the moment, the Balimbing has many young fruits on its branches but the tree is rather high for picking. It might be possible to prune it. The Tambis (a smaller version of the Macopa) has been flowering but bats have eaten the first batch of fruits.

Some of the new plants we have planted and are growing are: pineapple, dragon vine, passion fruit vine, durian, date palms (thanks to Ella Rizza for bringing them from Dubai!), oregano, mint, thyme, basil, ginger, turmeric.

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