Prep Time: 10 hours
The trees which were normally colored green and otherwise dull looking surprised us sometime in early September. By now, we already know that they were rambutan trees (Nephelium lappaceum) and that their season started on the same month. It was an amazing sight to behold as throngs of inviting and red furry looking balls swayed with every breath of the wind. I hastened to pick them and climbed some of the trees myself. For the unreachable parts, we’ve had to use a long pole with a hook and net at the end. Eventually we’ve had to ask for help from some of our neighbors who were more agile.
The harvest was plentiful. We only have three rambutan trees but we’ve managed to get over 25 kilograms of the fruit. We gave away 10 kgs. for the neighbors who helped us pick them. The green ones, though unripe are crunchier when you munch them. Be careful though as they have more “dagta” or resin that could be uncomfortable in the mouth if you’ve had too many.
They were going for only 20 Pesos a kilogram in the market so I figured that it would be best if we just ate them. After all, my son and daughters are rabid monsters when it comes to that crystal looking ball that is sweeter than a lansones.
We realized that we couldn’t eat everything even after giving away a lot. After a few days, we noticed that those at the bottom of the sack were the ones which easily ripened. Their pungent smell was beginning to change to a more rancid form. That’s when the accidental discovery occurred. We removed the skin of the rambutans which we thought were beginning to overripe and placed them on a clean bowl. We then washed them and put them in the freezer. I was thinking that the cold would somehow slow down the decomposition. We ate some and left the others to freeze overnight.
When we opened the freezer yesterday morning, it was then that the frozen rambutan balls greeted us. They looked absolutely fantastic and enticing so I tried one. It gave me a “brain freeze”. Freezing the rambutan seems to have given it a milky and candy like texture. Rather than eating it outright, I sucked on it like a five year old sucking an ice candy!
For those of you who have access to this absolutely delicious fruit, try freezing a bunch overnight and taste the wonders of the tropical snow ball.
Image by Daniel Garcia