Kitchen Tips

Lanzones – The Exotic Fruit

Lanzones, also known as Duku Langsat, Langsat or Lansium domesticum, is a famous family of antioxidant rich fruit grown in Southeast Asia. Philippines, Malaysia, Thailand and Indonesia are the greatest producers of this Mahogany family species fruit. Each varies in taste, shape and colour, but can only be differentiated by those who are used to eating them. Thailand’s Langkong lanzones are the most popular variety as they are sweet and easy to peel.

Lanzones- The Exotic Fruit

Image Courtesy: Choo Yut Shing used under the Creative Commons Licence

The fruit, which looks like small potatoes, can be elliptical, oval, or round in shape and are usually borne in clusters similar to grapes. Their skin (whose thickness varies) is thin with small yellow hair giving it a slightly fuzzy look. Larger lanzones are also grown which are known as Duku.

Lanzones are an epitome of healthy minerals. Each serving of lanzone contains carbohydrates, fiber, calcium, fructose, phosphorus, vitamin A, thiamine, riboflavin, ascorbic acid and phytin. Here are some of their claimed health benefits:

  • Their natural antioxidant, carotene acts as a cell protector for various medical disorders.
  • The fruit contains about three bitter seeds, which are pounded and consumed with water for deworming. The seeds are also used as ulcer medication.
  • The bark traditionally treats malaria and dysentery. Powdered bark helps treat scorpion stings.
  • The burnt skin of the fruit is used as a mosquito repellent.
  • The lanzone serves as a febrifuge or an antipyretic, i.e. it helps lowers body temperature.
  • Lanzones contain vitamin B-1 and B-2 i.e. Thiamine and Riboflavin respectively. The latter supports body growth, releases energy from carbohydrates and aids in red blood cell production. Thiamine breaks down sugar and helps treat several heart and nerve conditions.
  • Lanzones are rich in vitamin A, also known as carotenoids or retinol. Vitamin A is fat-soluble making it an important anti-aging mineral for healthy skin, teeth, soft and skeletal tissue and mucous membranes. It also acts as an eye pigment, fundamental for night or low light vision.

Therefore, not just the fruit but the whole plant offers natural medical aid. Unfortunately these fruits do not travel well and must be consumed within days of being picked from the tree. So, it is unlikely you will see them in an Australian market any time soon. But do look out for them the next time you travel to Southeast Asia.

Langsat - The Exotic Fruit

Image Courtesy: Yun Huang Yong used under the Creative Commons Licence

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