The Philippines has quite a lot of things to explore. This Southeast Asian archipelago is home to some of the world’s most breathtaking beaches and islands. It also has a broad array of tropical fruits and vegetables, many of which you’ve likely never heard of, let alone tasted. Some of them you can plant in the backyard of your affordable house and lot, while some can be planted on a pot at your do-it-yourself mini garden in your condominium unit!
While the year-round variety of fruits in the market is often tempting, it’s best to consider buying what fruits are in season because:
1. It is healthier.
Fruits and vegetables naturally grow in cycles and ripen during a certain season each year. When they are ripe, they are naturally at their best. Fruits sold in local markets during their respective off-seasons are either imported or grown under controlled conditions, such as in greenhouses.
2. It’s better for the environment.
Choosing seasonal fruits and vegetables is more environmentally friendly than purchasing fresh but out-of-season imported fruit. This reduces the resources needed to transport produce from distant areas, lowering the carbon footprint.
3. It benefits the community.
Purchasing locally sourced fruit from farmers’ markets and farming cooperatives in your area stimulates the economy and helps our farmers grow their businesses.
4. Seasonal fruits are less expensive.
You’ll save a few pesos on your market and/or grocery bill because locally sourced, seasonal fruits and vegetables require fewer resources for harvesting, storage, and transport.
5. They have a better flavor!
Have you ever noticed how certain fruits taste better in the summer or when it rains? That’s because they might be fully ripe at those times of the year! Fruits (and even vegetables) taste best when picked in season, making your experience that much more delicious.
If you have a taste for tropical fruit and want to try as many exotic varieties as you can, then keep reading to learn about what fruits are in season in the Philippines that you absolutely must try!
Seasonal Fruits Available from January to March
1. Chico (Naseberry)
Chico has a sweet, malty flavor with a palatable coating. Because of its high sugar content, it’s also known as an energy fruit. They are an excellent source of antioxidants and are rich in iron, calcium, and potassium. Basic as it is, it can also be turned into ice cream or a sherbet topping because of its sweetness.
2. Mandarin Orange (Dalanghita)
Mandarin Oranges are a significant source of Vitamins A, B and have a high level ofVitamin C. Dalanghitas are considered an important fruit around Chinese New Year because it symbolizes good fortune. They are available from January to February and October to December.
Caimitos are also known as star apples because of their star-like design when sliced in halves. It consists of two colors — white and purple. It helps in maintaining a good digestive system by preventing abdominal pain, constipation, and bloating. It is also fibrous and has a good amount of phosphorus.
Seasonal Fruits Available from April to June or the Summer Season fruits!
1. Duhat (Java plum or jamun)
The duhat leaves a dark violet stain on the tongue when eaten. It is likened to an astringent since it causes a “puckering sensation” in the mouth. It is widely known as a medicine for diabetes and can help in aiding digestion disorders such as stomach problems and diarrhea There are parts in the country that turns Duhat into red wine or vinegar.
This is the Philippines’ national fruit grown on over 7 million mango trees. It is known as a summer fruit, mangoes are a substantial source of fiber, antioxidants, and Vitamin C. It also supports a healthy immune system and can also fight chronic and inflammatory diseases. It has a variety: pico mangoes, carabao mangoes, katchamita mangoes or indian mangoes, pahutan or paho mangoes, horse mangoes.
Melons are mixed with salads, halo-halo, and sometimes even condensed milk. It is also used to prepare juice that is usually a hit during summer. They are an excellent source of dietary fiber, vitamin K, potassium, and vitamins C & B.
4. Watermelon (Pakwan)
Watermelons are high in water content, watermelons help to keep your body hydrated. They are also packed with nutrients like vitamins A, C, and antioxidants. They are popular as desserts and are best eaten during summer because of their thirst-quenching properties.
The Philippines is the second largest producer of pineapples next to Thailand. These fruits are exported to other countries as well. Apart from it being rich in Vitamin C, pineapples are also good in aiding digestion and promoting healthy bones.
6. Langka (Jackfruit)
Langka is a huge fuit with a thick, spiky shell. They are usually mixed in halo-halo or banana cue recipes because of their sweet flavor. They are in season from March to May.
7. Siniguelas (Spanish Plum)
Siniguelas are brought by the Spaniards during the colonization period, hence the name. It contains antioxidants that can help the body heal and repair.
Seasonal Fruits Available from July to September or the Rainy Season Fruits!
Durians are notorious for being smelly because of the mixture of several chemicals found in the fruit. Usually grown in the South, Davao Province. Despite this, they are known as the “King of Fruits” partly due to their size, odor, and prickly look. Durians are in season from August to October. It is a unique tropical fruit, Durian is high in nutrients and antioxidants. It can help reduce cancer risk and prevent heart diseases.
Lanzones are known for their sweet and sour taste but it becomes bitter if you taste their seed. They are available from August to December. They are rich in fiber and can cure diarrhea and other digestive problems. It also contains Vitamin A and is good for maintaining healthy eyesight.
The fruit is similar to lychee but rambutan has a seed inside. It is best eaten when it is bright red in color, which means it’s ripe and sweet. They are in season from August to October. Full of potassium, Rambutan helps in keeping your heart, kidneys, and muscles healthy. It is also an excellent source of Vitamin C and other antioxidants.
4. Santol (Cotton Fruit)
It is also known as a cotton fruit since there is a white cotton-like membrane inside once it is peeled. Some locals eat it with salt to add flavor. It is in season from July to September.
Often used medicinally in Southeast Asia, Santol helps in reducing bad cholesterol as well as preventing diabetes and cancer diseases. Some families enjoy Santol as a jam or as part of the ingredients of the well-known “sinigang”.
Seasonal Fruits Available from October to December
1. Atis (Custard Apple)
Atis fruit has a lot of seeds that are covered in a custard-like soft sweet pulp. From September to December, the sweet fruit is plentiful. It is a wonderful source of calcium, phosphorus, and fiber, and helps in controlling blood pressure and regulating sugar in the body.
2. Guyabano (Soursop)
Guyabanos have a sweet pulp that is used to make juice, candies, and ice cream flavorings. They are available from August to November. High in Vitamin C, Guyabano helps in strengthening your immune system. It also promotes healthy digestion and prevents constipation.
If durian is the “King of Fruits,” then mangosteen is the “Queen of the Fruits” for its high antioxidant properties and crown-like shape once sliced. Sometimes they are available as early as June to November.
4. Sampaloc (Tamarind)
Tamarinds are usually used as a flavoring for savory dishes. They are also prepared as sugar-coated local candies. These fruits are available from October to December.
Seasonal Fruits Available All Year Round
The banana is considered the country’s “most commercially important fruit” since it is one of the few locally produced fruits that are available all year. A superb source of potassium. Bananas are good for your heart health and blood pressure. It can also help aid digestion and can give you good energy minus the fat and bad cholesterol. Bananas can be served also in meriendas: such as Banana cue, Saging con yelo, Turon.
Papaya was purportedly called the “Fruit of the Angels” by explorer Christopher Columbus because of its sweet and soft, butter-like consistency. It is in season throughout the year. Papaya helps boost your immune system and aids in lowering blood sugar. It contains high antioxidants such as Vitamins A, C, and E, which can reduce the risk of heart diseases. Aside from eating the ripe papaya fresh, papaya can also be a substitute to sayote in “Tinola” or Chicken Stew.
3. Pomelo (Suha)
Pomelos are the largest fruit in the citrus family. They are also considered the cousins of grapefruit. Like the santol, some people also eat it with salt. These are available throughout the year. Pomelos are full of fiber and rich in antioxidants like Vitamin C. It also helps in preventing cancer by fighting cancerous cells by boosting your immune system.
Whatever fruit is in season, remember to include fruits and vegetables in your diet to prevent medical conditions and diseases and keep your body well! Eat a balanced diet, stay healthy and happy!