As an extra credit project for my Classical French Pastries Lab, I researched a fruit and nut that is fairly unheard of in the U.S. let a lone the northern hemisphere; the Pili Nut.
While I wont post all eight pages of the paper that I wrote, but I thought you might hearing about some of the interisting things I found out about this strange nut.
“If you were to go to your local grocery store, more than likely you would not see the Pili nut of over 4,000 different varieties of nuts grown and cultivated in the world.The Pili nut is native to the Philippines, specifically the bicol region, and is very difficult to buy outside of the area.
The tree that the pili nut comes from is called the ovatum, or the Canarium tree.These trees are an evergreen that is similar to an American Spruce in leaf shape and size.Ovatum trees are typically gown as an ornamental tree and the pili nuts grown outside of the Philippines are typically used to make jewelry or other arts.While the ovatum tree will grow pili nuts in any type of hot and humid tropical enviroment, only ovatum trees grown in the Philippines are edible.Scientists and botanists have not been able to pinpoint one specific reason as to why pili nuts are not poisonous when grown in the Philippines.But, the suspect that the acidic nature of the volcanic soil in combination with the humid climate is what makes the pili nuts edible.Pili nuts grown outside of the Philippines are extremely acidic, bitter, and are a very potent laxative.Eating more than 5 or 6 of the poisonous pili nuts can lead to hospitalization and even death.
The pili fruit itself is a drupe, similar to a date, and the pili nut is in the center, shaped like an almond.The fruit itself is covered with a thin tough black skin that is shiny and smooth, the fruit inside is bright green and fibrous pulp.The pulp of the pili fruit can be eaten but is very tough and grassy tasting.To eath the fruit, first blanch the pili and peel off the thin skin, the Filipino people will than dip the fruit in a fish sauce and scrape the pulp off the the seed with their teeth, than discarding the seed.While eating just the pulp is an acquired taste, it is the most popular way to eat the pili fruit in the bicol area.”
While you most likely wont even be able to taste a pili nut unless you take a trip to the Philippines, the pili nut has a great almond taste that everyone should try once in their life.