What is that grape-like fruit? Maybe longan, but it could also be a bunch of baby potatoes? Perhaps the nonspecific appearance leads to many different names. Lanzones Fruit – aka Langsat, Lansium parasiticum, Duku, Lansa, Bon Bon … Seriously, this fruit has more names than Pablo Picasso itself (his full name was Pablo Diego José Francisco de Paula Juan Nepomuceno María de los Remedios Cipriano de la Santísima Trinidad Ruiz y Picasso). However, the number of names doesn't really matter, what matters is the delicious taste.
Where does lanzones or langsat grow?
Not many people know that lanzones originate from western Peninsular Malaysia
. Though it is much more popular in Vietnam
and that is why some mistake it for Vietnamese fruit. But hey, globalization is doing its best and now lanzones grow all over Asia
. It was also introduced to Hawaii, Surinam and Costa Rica.
The lanzones comes from the Mahogany family, reaching 30 meters (98 ft) in height and 75 centimeters (30 in) in diameter. For best growth, it needs acidic soil and partial shade without floods. It can be grown in the same agroforest as durian
as well as among the wood-producing trees.
How does lanzones look like?
In Asia the offer of fruit is diverse, seriously we go nuts everytime we are here. This time our new 'finding' was lanzones
It looks like a young potato, borne in clusters similar to grapes. Each lanzones measures about 3 to 5 centimeters (1.20 to 1.97 in) in diameter. If there are bigger fruits than it is a cousin Duku, which has also thicker skin but still delicious meat. However, the skin thickness varies with the varieties, from 2 millimeters (0.079 in) to 6 millimeters (0.24 in). The best fruits have a semi-dark yellow color and are a bigger size. If you see darker color, those might be overripe. To point out, the skin contains latex which is very sticky.
Lanzones fruit reminds me of the lychee.
Be careful you don’t get it on your clothes – it won’t go down. Note that your hands will be very sticky after peeling, but we have a trick for you – read a bit lower. Fruit contains 1 to 3 seeds, which are inedible. But you will notice that as soon as you get one by its extremely bitter taste. The meat is divided into few segments but don’t bother separating them. Just pop one in your mouth and chew mindfully.
What does lanzones taste like?
People are describing it in all possible ways. To me, it is very sweet with nice citrus acidity at the back. I find grapefruit, lychee, and grapes together with some tropical candy which I loved as a kid. It definitely fits into the category of the best fruits in this world and on your bucket list of fruits you must try. When you will don't forget about the seed! Or do, then you'll surely remember. The seeds are soft so it is easy to bite into them and the second you do so, you’ll know it. Some have a small seed, which is not too obtrusive and doesn’t wreck the taste.
This tasty fruit is native to Malaysia, but now it grows in many countries with the tropical climate.
How about the texture?
This pleasantly tasting tropical fruit has a jelly-like texture which doesn’t drip any juices when bursting the skin. The fruit is very juicy and becomes liquid after a few bites.
Where can I buy lanzones?
The langsat does not last longer than 4 days once picked from the trees while the duku does last a bit longer. For this reason, you won’t find lanzones on any other markets than the local ones. However, with some wax and antifungal treatment and refrigerating it can last almost 10 days. On the other side, the duku is a bit more resistant so you may find it in Hong Kong and Singapore
as well. One can buy langsat pretty much throughout Asia and also Hawaii and Costa Rica, but only when there is the season for them.
Where to buy lanzones in the USA? You can find them on the Amazon or at the e-store miamifruit.org where you can buy them, but it is really expensive. I think it might be a better option to take a trip to Asia ;)
When can I get lanzones?
The lanzones is a quickly perishable fruit. It lasts only a few days after the harvest. For that reason it is hard to find them on the west.
The lanzones season in Malaya generally bears twice a year. First one is in June and July, then and again in December and January. In Vietnam, the main season for lanzones or Bon Bon that is how they call them is from August to late October. In India, the lanzones are on the market from April to September.
How to eat lanzones?
Fresh raw fruit is a way to go. We usually eat them all on the same day we got them on the market. They taste so good that we simply can’t stop eating them. But some are making a syrup with lanzones or using them in desserts. Once we had a pie made of lanzones and it was delicious. The easiest and cleanest way to peel them is to pinch the fruit at the bottom till the peel bursts. Then just pop them into your mouth. If the skin doesn't want to give up, I use the knife to cut through the top and then pop them out of the peel.
How to get rid of sticky hands after eating lanzones?
The woody stalk holds the individual berries in a grape-like shape.
The best way to clean your sticky hands covered with lanzones latex is to rub it well with coconut oil. Coconut oil will dissolve latex and later just rinse it with warm water and some soap. Don't fuss about the stickiness, no one is perfect, ok?
Coconuts are no joke! You can use them in many ways. One way is also to get rid of sticky hands after eating duku. Coconut oil, well every oil to be exact will work like a charm.
Is the lanzones fruit healthy?
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Lanzones or langsat has many health benefits. It composes of good amounts of dietary fiber, vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants. Its simple sugars - fructose and sucrose, boosts energy and helps to revitalize body with electrolytes. Worth mentioning is also that it doesn't have saturated fats or cholesterol.
Full of dietary fiber
First thing is to take care of your health. Money won't help you if your health is bad. Eat healthy!
Dietary fiber helps to maintain normal digestion, helps maintain bowel health, lowers cholesterol level, Helps control blood sugar levels and preventing from cardiovascular disease and all cancers.
Good for teeth and bones
The lanzones are rich with potassium and calcium which are essential for maintaining teeth and skeletal health. These minerals are also important at maintaining heart health and blood pressure.
Rich in vitamin A
Strong bones are thumbs up my friends.
Vitamin A is required for several vital functions in the body and its deficiency can lead to an impaired response to infection. However, lanzones are abundant in Vitamin A, which is important for maintaining eye health, skeletal tissues, protecting skin and mucous membranes.
Good source of B complex
The lanzones are a good source of B-complex vitamins such as niacin, riboflavin, thiamine, and folates. It is especially rich in riboflavin known as vitamin B2. B complex help with the processing of carbohydrates into energy. B complex also helps to keep your nervous system functioning properly and is crucial to the normal function of the brain. On the other hand, vitamins B also lay a role in the production of blood cells and helps to create DNA.
A small amount of vitamin C
B complex are crucial for our health. Make sure you have them enough in your diet.
Lanzones have also a small amount of vitamin C, which is a great antioxidant. Antioxidants can interact with free radicals and terminate the chain reaction before vital molecules are damaged. Vitamin C prevents inflammation, slower aging processes, boost the immune system, fights heart disease risk factors, improves iron absorption and much more.
Full of antioxidants
The lanzones contain a few polyphenols antioxidants, limonoids, which are anti-cancerous. Anyway, its skin and bark are full of it. Analysis showed that lanzones skin had the highest total flavonoids (213.45 mg quercetin/g dried material) among tropical fruits.
Lanzones cures diarrhea
Free radicals are harming your cells. Luckily, antioxidants can safely interact with free radicals and terminate the chain reaction before vital molecules are damaged.
As we said before, langsat fruit meat has a lot of fiber, which helps with gut health. At the same time, the peel of lanzones contains oleoresin and resin that help in curing diarrhea and its symptoms. The bark of the tree can be made into astringent and has been proven to exhibit anti-spasmodic properties. That is a very efficient way to treat dysentery and diarrhea.
Good for skin
The lanzones can help with skin problems. The rind can be used to treat various skin problems like acne, rashes, inflammatory, itching… Rubbing lanzones rind on the affected area can reduce the redness, itching and swollen skin. But only if it is pesticide free and be ready for some serious stickiness!
Mosquitos repellent and antimalarial properties
Burning the dried peel of lanzones can be used as an effective natural mosquito repellent. On the other hand, it’s astringent bark and leaves decoction is taken as a treatment for dysentery and malaria. Pulverized seed can be used as a febrifuge (lowering fewer) and vermifuge (removes parasitic worms), which can also help with malaria. However, the meat of lanzones by itself also lowers the temperature.
Helps with scorpion stings
The bark is poulticed on scorpion stings, which is kind of ironic because the langsat is the perfect hiding spot for scorpions. Every year a few people get stung by a scorpion while handling them. Make sure you hold the stalk of the bunch and shake well before handling with it.
We are huge fruit lovers, especially when it comes to tropical fruit. In Vietnam, we came across this incredibly tasty fruit and felt instantly in love with it. The euphoria got some wings after we checked lanzones health benefits. It is a Bon Bon for the body and the soul and for us, this is the name to hold on to.
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Source and references
Morton, J. 1987. Langsat. p. 201–203. In: Fruits of warm climates. Julia F. Morton, Miami, FL.
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