Kamias

There is a small kamias tree here.

There were two trees in our backyard when we were kids. The first one became my uncle’s property when he built their home. Thinking of it as useless tree. They killed it and replaced with balimbing, a close tree relative. It was also taken down several years after in lieu of a hobby fish pond.

I was responsible for cutting down the second tree. I removed it to build our home. I don’t want to but I had no other choice at the moment. The space given to us was small. I had to make use of every inch possible. I will make up for it the time I acquired a land of my own.

A tree of less use? Maybe true or maybe not. It is very prolific. Bearing fruit starting February to December. It does not require care. It can even survive shady and drought conditions and still bear fruits. It starts on trunk few inches above ground, to big branches, up to small branches. Majority fall and rot on ground. We often see it more of a mess than blessing. It need to be swept at least once a day.

When the two kamias trees were alive, the place was one of our favorite playing spot. The trees were giving ample shade plus we were eating the young fruits. Youngs are mild tasting compare to very sour big fruits. Then, it is useful because of that sour thing. It was my mom’s favorite for cooking any sour dish especially “sinaing na tulingan”. Neighbors often came to get kamias. Even distant neighbors were coming to pick fruits.

Saying the tree is useless is simply ridiculous. If we have a tree or two in our yard or farm. All we need to do is harvest the fruits, dry and store for later. It can also be for sale. Other products can also be made, like prunes and jams. My late grandma’s prune recipe was simply the best. Hoping she shared the formula to one of my relatives.

Upon discovering the tree in our new yard, I originally planned on harvesting and drying the fruits for later use. Perhaps grow new plant and sell to others the excess produce. I did search how to grow it from seeds or any other methods but there were few information. I am going to try every propagation method I found until I succeed.

Our two kids are eating the large sour fruits. The elder is bringing it to school for himself and his friends.

How to Dry Kamias?

Drying is a simple as getting fruits everyday, every other day or whenever mature fruits are available. You can do it on your own or ask somebody in your household. Making a harvesting pole with a catch bag on tip will make harvesting like a child’s play. Average tree height is about 15 meters. So don’t worry about climbing the tree and suffering accidental fall. If 15 meters is still too high, trimming it down to 10 meters won’t hurt much.

Then. Lay all fruits in trays or wire mesh in a single layer fashion. It is necessary to expose all fruits against sun rays at the same time. And allow good air circulation which hasten drying and prevents rotting. Fruits will turn brown and will shrink due to moisture loss. The appearance has a strong resemblance to rotting fruit but that is fine. Continue drying for several days until there is no noticeable shrinkage.

batch of kamias in drying process
dried kamias

Fresh kamias is excellent for sinaing na tulingan. I like it more when added dried. It imparts milder sour flavor and at the same time absorb fish and coconut milk taste. I am eating the kamias first before the others.

Marvin is the lead chocolate maker of Ben and Lyn Chocolate Inc. Has strong background in food research and development. Occasionally conducts training and lectures. Lecturer of Cocoa Foundation of the Philippines. Do coaching and consultancy services on his free time.