The Philippines is one of the countries blessed with an abundance of fruits and vegetables. One of the favorites is lanzones (Lansium domesticum), dubbed as the ‘highly seasonal and highly priced fruit in the Philippines’.

longkong (2)

Locally-grown varieties of lanzones are paete, duku, and jolo. An outstanding variety from Thailand is also grown but is said to be erroneously called longkong . The paete variety is grown in certain areas in Luzon such as Southern Tagalog, and in Mindanao in places such as Misamis Oriental and Camiguin Island as it thrives only in a narrow range of conditions.

One distinct characteristic of the paete variety is that its skin or peel has no latex compared to the others. An almost seedless variety, its fruit is sweet and tasty. On the other hand, the tree of the duku is shorter than other varieties. It has a wider crown and hairless leaves and its fruits have a considerably delectable flavor.

Vitamin and mineral content

Lanzones is rich in vitamins, particularly Vitamins A, B1 and B2, and minerals.

Vitamin A is a fat-soluble vitamin group that includes retinol or and several pro-Vitamin A carotenoids. , It is responsible for a person’s healthy skin, teeth, soft and skeletal tissue and mucous membranes. Likewise, lanzones contains carotene, a powerful antioxidant beneficial in protecting cells from free radicals, associated with many medical disorders.

Vitamin B1 or thiamine helps to break down sugars in the body. Supporting body growth and red blood cell production, riboflavin or Vitamin B2 helps the body release energy from carbohydrates.

Production and festivities

Lanzones, is popularly grown in Southern Tagalog (Laguna, Batangas, and Quezon) , Camiguin, Sulu, Davao del Norte, and Zamboanga del Norte. April to June is the flowering season in Southern Tagalog while August to December marks the harvesting season in Mindanao.

To promote lanzones production in the country, local festivities have been set-up as part of the yearly cultural events in the regions or provinces where lanzones is grown. September is dubbed as the Pae-Taka-Lanzones festival in Paete, Laguna while every October of the year, Mambajao in Camiguin celebrates its Lanzones Festival.

Putting a twist to eating lanzones

Aside from eating it as a plain fruit, some people tried a twist by utilizing it as an ingredient in one recipe. Discovered in Laguna, ‘isdang niluto sa lanzones’ or ‘fish cooked in lanzones’ is a great tasting recipe which has a healthy amount of vitamins when consumed in sufficient amounts. For some people who are not fond of eating the small yellow round fruit especially getting rid of the ‘dagta’ in their hands, this recipe provides a welcome change.

R&D on lanzones

The Bureau of Agricultural Research (BAR) has supported three (3) projects on lanzones under its Community-based Participatory Action Research (CPAR) and the National Technology Commercialization Program (NTCP).

With an improved package of technology (POT), productivity of the old trees and pomological characteristics were enhanced by using the as indicated by increases in the yield of trees, fruit size and weight.

The results of one project indicated that the availability of good quality and affordable planting materials of lanzones at established nurseries is a viable business venture for the industry in CALABARZON. The potential expansion areas are the neighboring regions which have similar agroclimatic conditions.

Another follow-up project studied the existing post-harvest practices of farmers to determine considering an extensive cost and benefit analysis as well as technologies to extend the shelf-life of lanzones and marketing strategies.

Source:
1. Rosales , Avelita M. Enhancing marketability of lanzones fruits through application of proper post harvest handling practices and technologies (Go, grow and glow: Enhancing shelf life of lanzones fruits)
2. http://www.all-about-philippine-fruits-and-herbs.com/lanzones-health-benefits.html
3. Health Benefits of Lanzones, http://www.livestrong.com/article/510922-health-benefits-of-lanzones/

By: Ma. Eloisa H. Aquino, BAR Digest October-December 2012 Issue (Vol. 14 No. 4)