Averrhoa bilimbi (commonly known as camias) is a fruit-bearing tree found throughout the Philippines. Its fruit is ellipsoidal, elongated, measuring about 4 – 10 cm and sometimes faintly 5-angled. The skin, smooth to slightly bumpy, thin and waxy turning from light green to yellowish-green when ripe. The flesh is crisp and the juice is sour and extremely acidic and therefore not typically consumed as fresh fruit by itself. Fruit is often preserved and used as a popular flavouring/seasoning.
How to make your own preserved Camias
Camias (medium sized)
Colander or salaan
1. Select large, firm camias.
2. Soak in lime water (1 tsp. lime or “apog” to a liter of water) overnight. Wash and remove caps.
3. Boil in plenty of water using a stainless steel or enameled kettle.
4. Drain and press each fruit lightly to remove excess water.
5. To 2 parts of sugar add 1 part of water and boil in stainless steel or enameled kettle.
6. Add the camias to this syrup and boil for about 15 minutes.
7. Drain. Pack camias in sterilized jars and pour syrup.
8. Remove air bubbles.
9. Seal completely and process in 227 ml. jars for 20 minutes in boiling water. Reseal completely and cool.
For Camias Candy:
To make candied camias, begin by sorting fruits according to size and eliminating the spoiled or damaged ones.
1. Weigh and wash the fruits.
2. Soak them overnight in lime solution (one tablespoon lime per one liter of water). This process will firm up the fruits. Again, wash thoroughly in running water to remove lime.
3. Blanch fruits in boiling water for three to five minutes and drain.
4. Prick the bottom part of camias with a fine toothpick and press each fruit lightly to remove some of the fruit juice.
5. Prepare syrup (2 parts sugar to one part water), boil it and strain.
6. Add the camias to the syrup and boil them for five minutes and soak overnight.
7. Remove the fruits and add one cup sugar to the syrup and boil. Then add camias again and heat for five minutes.
8. Soak the fruits overnight.
9. The following day, remove fruits and add some more sugar to the syrup. Then, add camias again and boil for five minutes.
10. Allow to cool; drain and weigh.
11. Arrange camias on a tray and dry in a solar dryer.
12. After drying, weigh again and pack in plastic bags and seal.
Source: UNLAD, NSDB Appropriate Technology, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Averrhoa_bilimbi