Salak or Snake Fruit | What is Salak (Snake Fruit) | Health Benefits of Salak (Snake Fruit) | Nutritional Value of Salak Fruit | Uses of Salak (Snake Fruit)
Salak (Salacca zalacca) is a species of palm tree (family Arecaceae) native to Indonesia and Malaysia. It is a very short-stemmed palm, with leaves up to 6m long; each leaf has a 2m long petiole with spines up to 15cm long, and numerous leaflets.
The fruit grow in clusters at the base of the palm, and are also known as snake fruit due to the reddish-brown scaly skin. They are about the size and shape of a ripe fig, with a distinct tip. The pulp is edible. The fruit can be peeled by pinching the tip which should cause the skin to slough off so it can be pulled away. The fruit inside consists of three lobes, each containing a large inedible seed. The lobes resemble, and have the consistency of, large peeled garlic cloves. The taste is usually sweet and acidic, but its apple-like texture can vary from very dry and crumbly (salak pondoh from Yogyakarta) to moist and crunchy (salak Bali).
The salak, or snake fruit, comes attractively packaged in its own distinctively patterned, leathery hide. The dark-brown skin is tough, but surprisingly thin and easy to peel. Inside you’ll find a light-tan fruit divided into three or more lobes, usually with a single seed in the largest section. Salaks are not juicy which makes them especially convenient to peel and eat. The fruit has the firmness of a carrot and a distinctively agreeable flavor quite unlike any other fruit. The unusual beauty of the salak and its ability to endure traveling conditions make it a tasty and unusual gift for friends back home.
Salak (Salacca zalacca, syn. S. edulis, Calamus zalacca) is a species of palm tree (family Arecaceae) native to Indonesia and Malaysia. It is a very short-stemmed palm, with leaves up to 6 m long; each leaf has a 2 m long spiny petiole and numerous leaflets.
A ripe salak is always creamy yellow colour and has a sweet acid taste like pineapple. Salak is not juicy which makes them especially convenient to peel and eat. The taste is usually sweet and acidic, but its apple-like texture can vary from very dry and crumbly to moist and crunchy.
The size of this fruit varies but it is about the size of a fig and with a pointed tip. It comes with brown scale-liked skin but take note that there is yet another exotic species with the red skin and it is slightly longish in shape.
How to eat this fruit?
No knife needed. Just break off the tip and peel the skin from the top down. The tough, thick-looking skin is deceiving as it peels off quite easily. If you put this fruit in the refrigerator and when you peel it, the skin will break off into small pieces, similar to breaking the shell of a hard-boiled egg.
The inside of this fruit, consists of three lobes, are “off-white to creamy” color. It reminds you of an over-sized peeled garlic! There is a single, dark brown seed in every lobe but the seeds are not edible.
If you put salak in an enclosed room, you can smell the the sourish aroma of this fruit. If you like it, it smells good to you but it definitely does not smell good to me.
Cultivation of Salak Fruit:
Salak fruit has been cultivated throughout Indonesia and there are at least 30 cultivars, but most of which have an astringent taste and are not sweet. Two popular cultivars are salak pondoh from Yogyakarta province (found in 1980s) and salak Bali from Bali island.
1. Salak pondoh
Salak pondoh is an important fruit in Yogyakarta province.The popularity of salak pondoh (compared with other cultivars) among local Indonesian consumers is mainly due to the intensity of its aroma, which can be overripe and sweaty even before full maturation.
Salak pondoh has three more superior variations, namely pondoh super, pondoh hitam (black pondoh), and pondoh gading (ivory-english term for gading / yellowish-skinned pondoh).
2. Salak Bali
Salak Bali is commonly sold all over the island of Bali, and is a popular fruit with both locals and tourists. It is also a favourite fruit of the monkeys found in the famous “Monkey Forests”, with the animals often stealing fruit from visitors, especially children whom they see as an easier target. The fruit is roughly the size of a large fig, and has a crunchy and moist consistency. The fruit has a starchy ‘mouth feel’, and a flavour remeniscent of dilute pineapple and lemon juice.
Salak Gula Pasir
The most expensive cultivar of the Bali salak is the ‘gula pasir’(literally meaning fine-grained sugar), which is smaller than the normal salak and is the sweetest of all salak.
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