marang

Koronadal City (Marang Fruit) by Constantine Agustin / CC BY-SA 2.0

Image by Constantine Agustin / CC BY-SA 2.0

A cousin of jackfruit and breadfruit that also belongs to the same family as mulberry and fig trees. Scientific name: Artocarpus odoratissimus.

In Fruits of the Philippines (Bookmark, 1997), Doreen Fernandez describes marang as large, roundish to oblong fruit studded with short spines that turn from yellow to green when ripe. “The rind is thick and fleshy, and the flesh snowy white…very sweet, juicy and aromatic,” Fernandez writes.

In another book called Promising Fruits of the Philippines (UPLB Press, 1986), agricultural scientist Roberto Coronel calls marang “certainly the best flavoured dessert fruit…and one of the best native fruits of the Philippines.”

Marang trees grow wild and semi-cultivated largely in the Mindanao region. From a BAR Digest report called A Taste of the Exotic Marang, author Leila Padilla describes the marang tree as an evergreen that grows up to 25 metres tall, often found along rural roads and hillsides. The leaves of a marang tree are elliptic and lobed, with fruit weighing up to 1 kg or more.

“But the most important part is what’s inside the thick skin,” Padilla writes, “After cutting, twisting and pulling the half of the rind, as how marang is traditionally opened, an abundant core full of white fleshy arils will surely invite anyone to pick and taste.”

According to Padilla’s report, marang fruit are a source of ascorbic acid, beta-carotene, calcium, carbohydrates, fiber, fat, iron, niacin, phosphorus, protein, retinol, riboflavin, thiamine and vitamin A.

Growing up in Manila, I had never tasted nor heard of marang fruit until a week ago, thanks to this intriguing Instagram post from BecomingFilipino’s Kyle Jennerman.

As these excellent blog posts from The Poor Traveler and Loqal have shared, it seems my best chance of sampling marang is during a trip to Davao City!

Further reading:

• An article from the Philippine Star titled “Marang: A Potential Dollar Earner.” The piece includes an interview with Dr. Emma Sales of the University of Southern Mindanao and her work on improving the shelf life and marketability of marang fruit.

• A post on Value-Added Products from Marang. Includes recipes for making marang jam, brittle and concentrate, should you be lucky to live with an abundance of the fruit!

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