POWERFUL HEALTH BENEFITS OF COTTON FRUIT (SANTOL)
Santol fruit is round yellow fruit with a white juicy sweet sour soft sub acid tissue. When the fruit is not ripe, the flesh is even sourer.
Santol for Diabetics
The santol is good for diabetics because it is fiber rich and has a low glycemic index. Fruits with low glycemic index are fibrous and the fiber slows down its digestion which in turn regulates or prevents blood sugar levels to increase. The fiber curtails the absorption of sugar into the blood. Thus, the santol is fruit good for diabetics primarily because of its low glycemic index. Incidentally, the fruit is also great for people attempting to lose weight.
Aside from its low glycemic index, the pulp of the santol fruit is rich in Byronic acid and sandoruim acid which helps in preventing allergies. This also helps diabetics from developing allergic skin which prevents one from scratching which can lead of wounds or infections. The santol also has astringent quality which is an essential ingredient in beauty products. The astringent helps keep the skin firm and young looking. Moreover, santol is also rich in carbohydrates for energy.
Eating santol thus keeps one energized without necessarily needing to eat more food. The fiber keeps one feel fed. It also has iron and vitamin C for improving the body immune system. It also has some calcium for proper bone development. It has Vitamin B for proper cell metabolism. This also helps in food digestion and absorption, which is one of the problems of diabetic people as they are unable to properly absorb the nutrients of the food they eat.
Other Health Benefits
In Europe and Africa, the dried pulp is an astringent; and the leaves for rashes, sweating and when powdered, for ringworm. Powdered bark is also given to women post-child birth as a heath remedy. In Java, bark powder treats Leucorrhea and other vaginal infections. Santol is also used to remedy diarrhea, dysentery and a number of stomach ailments.
How to Open/Cut:
Santol requires lopping around the skin, and then sucking out the white, edible cottony fruit surrounding the three to five seeds. If desired, use a spoon to scoop the savory flesh surrounding the spongy part of the santol. If using the fruit in recipes, cut in half and remove the seeds from each half.
Though tempting, avoid swallowing the seeds—a 2001 health advisory was issued in the Phillipines after a woman perforated her large intestine by eating too many santol seeds. A few other cases of stomach problems arising from seed consumption have surfaced as well.
Santols are climacteric, meaning they will continue to ripen once plucked from the tree. Thus, keep santols at room temperature if you wish for the flesh and peel to grow softer. Keep santols at a temperature no lower than 15 degrees Celsius, or, 60 degrees Fahrenheit. Colder conditions will result in chilling injuries, evident by brown, bruised skin and a translucent aril. Santols will keep for three weeks in semi-cold conditions.
Santol Recipe Ideas and Uses:
Santol has enough pectin to make preserves and jams, though one must dedicate approximately 5 days to the process. Here’s a recipe from the website, filipinovegetarianrecipe.com: Place peeled santol fruits in cold water, and then cut the fruit into quarters and remove the seeds. Submerge the fruit sections for three days, ensuring to change the water at the start of every day. After soaking for these days, blanch the fruit for five minutes and then submerge the santol flesh in cold water. Strain, and then boil the fruits in a half-sugar, half-water concoction for 20 minutes. Remove the pulp, and let the syrupy water sit overnight. The next day, add the fruits back to the sryrup water, boil again for 15 minutes, and transfer the mixture to sterilized glass jars.
Make chunky, citrusy santol juice: peel the fruit in thick slices, as taking more pungent flesh off the skin ensures sweeter juice. Slice the fruit into several pieces, removing the seeds in the process. On the side, boil some water with sugar. Once cooled, add sour orange juice to the sweet water and set to chill in the refrigerator. Once the orange syrupy water has cooled, pour over the cut santol in a large pitcher.
Create a savory dish featuring santol and extra firm tofu: Peel the fruit and remove the cottony, sweet inside. Chop the remaining santol meat into small pieces, and then use a food processor until it’s achieved a pulpy, yet thick consistency that resembles finely-grated carrots. Set aside, and in a separate saucepan, sautee oil, ginger, garlic until hot. Add crumbled tofu and some soy sauce, and then stir-fry briefly. Combine the santol with the tofu, pour coconut milk over the blend, and then let simmer for an hour. Serve with rice.
Flavor Complements: coconut, citrus, lemon, lime
Herbs, spices, and oil: salt, sugar, peanuts, ginger, tamarind