Thursday, June 28, 2012

Kamias: Ferment It!

This is what I love to do with kamias: ferment it!

As kids, we'd pick kamias fruits which grew in abundant clusters even on the lowest parts of the tree and try to hit each other with them. The super ripe fruits easily crushed on our faces and the watery, sourly juice would splash on our shirts. Ha! That was so much fun!

I never understood why so many ants would love to hang around the kamias tree, going up and down with excitement, when its fruits are super sour. Up to this day, my only guess is that the flowers probably have something to do with it. Or, probably its o.61 grams of protein makes ants crazy about it. I don't know.

Of all the sourly ingredients used for my favorite native Sinigang recipe, kamias is my favorite. The dish has the right sourness and you get to eat the fruit, besides. And it's easy to cook: just put in the fruits while boiling the fish or meat to tenderize them and then crush the fruits when tender to help ooze out its fruity flavor. You get lots of fibers.

Kamias has vitamins and minerals--Vitamin C to be sure. It has iron, protein, and calcium, to name a few. Eat the fruit raw and you get all the nutrition. If you can't eat super sour raw fruits like it, then try slicing the crunchy fruit (it's like pickles) really thin and mix it with ripe mangoes, tomatoes, and onions, with a sprinkling of salt or preserved fish (bagoong in Tagalog).


Or ferment it!

This is among my favorite kamias preparations. Locally we call it "burong kamias." Just fill a glass jar with the fruit (wash them thoroughly) and fill with half water and half Del Monte sugarcane vinegar or any vinegar derived from plants. Add salt to taste. Ferment it (or let it stay) for 5 days. Keep in a cool dry place in your kitchen. After 5 days, it's ready as a super dip for any fried dish--fish, meat, pork. The fruit is also now more eatable with 90 percent of its sourness diluted in the concoction. I like crushing the soft and silky fermented kamias with my tongue and getting all the subtly sourly succulence. So, what's the best thing to do with kamias? Ferment it!

Medicinal Uses

Now, the fruit and leaves have medicinal uses, too. Pound the leaves until they have the consistency of paste and apply that topically to skin irritations, mumps, acnes and pimples, rheumatic pains, pruritus, and even for the relief of cough and hypertension. Rub the paste gently on your throat for coughs and forehead for hypertension.

For fever and cold, kamias juice does wonders. If you cannot tolerate the sourness, add in wild honey. Some in Deep Asia use the leaves for venereal infections. 

More importantly, kamias is said to be anti-diabetic. Some clinical studies show that it's good as an anti-diabetic therapy. 


Because it's anti-bacterial, the fruits and leaves are good for fighting gram-positive and gram-negative bacteria. So, some folks use the crushed fruits and leaves for cleaning their hands, face, and body and then washing them with water.

The fruit looks and tastes somewhat like Balimbing probably because it's a relative. Kamias is called Averrhoa Bilimbi scientifically. Anyway, whatever it looks or taste like to you, for me this is the best preparation for kamias: ferment it!

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