Thursday, 17 February 2011

Hearts of Palms

Umbut is the Malay word for heart-of-palm, which is a vegetable harvested from the inner core and growing bud of certain palm trees.  It is costly because harvesting in the wild kills the tree.  It is therefore sometimes called the  ‘millionaire’s salad’.

A wide variety of palms are harvested for their heart, notably coconut ( Cocos nucifera ), Palmito Juçara ( Euterpe edulis ), Açaí palm ( Euterpe oleracea ), sabal ( Sabal spp ), pejibaye ( Bactris gasipaes ), oil palm ( Elaeis guinensis ) …

A stroll down the Sarikei’s Sunday market at Jalan Nyelong, one will be amazed with the variety of palm’s heart on sale…

This is sago's heart.  Metroxylon sagu also processed into sago pearl.

Mother said this is of nipah's, ( Nypa fruticans ),
which fruits are also harvested for its translucent, sweet kernel called atapzi in Hokkien. 
Sap collected from its inflorecence is made into alcoholic drink, vineger or atap sugar.
Young leaves are used for wraping tabacco for smoking.

This is umbut upeng, as the Iban lady said. 
Arenga sp. ?

This is hearts of Oncosperma tigillarium, a thorny palm.

This is supposedly rattan's shoots, locally known as selaris, laris, or moa.
Plectocomiopsis geminiflora 

Last, but not least, coconut's ...
Cocos nucifera

Monday, 14 February 2011

Artocarpus camansi - Breadnut

Breadnut ( Artocarpus camansi ) is native to New Guinea and possibly the Moluccas and the Phillipines.  In the late 1700s, the British and French spread breadnut throughout the tropics.  It is now widespread in the Caribbean, Central and South America, Southeast Asia, and parts of Africa.

Artocarpus camansi is grown for their large, nutritious seeds. Breadnut seeds are very high in protein and relatively low in fat.  They are boiled or roasted and are similar to chestnuts in texture and flavour.   Immature fruits and seeds are cooked as vegetables as well.

Breadnut is also known as castaña (Spanish), chataignier (French), kapiak (New Guinea), kamansi, dulugian, pakau, kolo, ugod (Philippines), kulur, kelur, kulor, kuror (Malaya, Java), mei kakano (Marquesas), pana de pepitas (Puerto Rico).

A breatnut tree is capable to grow up to 15m in height.   Breatnut’s leaves are alternate, large, 40-60cm long, moderately dissected with 4-6 pairs of lobes and sinuses cut halfway to the midrib.

Male and female flowers grow on same tree at the ends of branches, with the male inflorescence appearing first.  Male flowers are club-shaped, up to 3cm in diameter, and 25-35cm long.  Female inflorescens consist of 1500-2000 reduced flowers attached to a spongy core.

The fruit is a large fleshy syncarp, oval or ovoid, 13-20cm long, 7-12cm in diameter, weight approximately 800g.  The skin is dull green to green-yellow when ripe, with a spiny texture. The pulp is yellow-whitish when ripe with a sweet aroma and taste.  The fruit is not as solid or dense as breadfruit as the individual flowers are fused together only at their bases.

The fruit contains numerous seeds, from 12 to as many as 150, each weighing an average of 7-10g.  The seeds are rounded or flattened by compression and about 5cm long.  They have a thin, light-brown outer seed coat.  Seeds have little to no endosperm, no period of dormancy, and are unable to withstand disication.

Breatnut is genetically variable, diploid, and produces abundant fertile pollen.