Betawi Plants & Fruits That Have Economic Value

1. Rambutan

Rambutan is a tropical plant belonged to Sapindaceae famili. It originates from Southeast Asia. The word “rambutan” comes from the surface of the fruit which resembles rambut, which literally means hair.

The hairy rambutan fruit is green when still young, but gradually becomes yellow and red when ripes. The flesh is whit and sweet.

When the fruits are ripe, rambutan trees are very interesting to see. The fruits are ripe usually from December to March, locally known as the “rambutan season”. The period is usually in conjunction with other seasonal fruits, such as durian and mango.

2. Melinjo

Melinjo is an open-seeded plant (Gymnosperm). Melinjo trees produce many beneficial parts. The wood, for instance, can be used as a simple board material and household appliances. The young leaves are used as food ingredients. Small flowers and seeds can also be food ingredients. Melinjo seeds are usually also cooked for chips.

Melinjo trees can grow in clay, sandy and calcareous soils. However, they are not resistant to waterlogged or high acidic soils. It should be exposed to sufficient sunlight.

3. Kweni

Kweni is a type of mango. It has a very fragrant aroma compared to other mango species. In fact, the fragrance is the special attraction of this fruit. Kweni is called by several names in different regions, such as pakel, lekup, kuini, etc. Kweni has never been found to grow organically. Thus, it is believed that kweni is a hybrid of mango and bachang. As for mangoes, kweni is also popular as a backyard tree. This tree is planted mainly for its fruit, which is best eaten fresh or as a mixture in drinks.

If you want to pick for best ripe kweni fruit, you should go for the one with sweet but less stinging smell. It usually has less fibrous flesh and lots of juice. Kweni seed core can be made as flour, which is usually used as an ingredient in making snacks, such as dodol. Kweni tree bark is usually used as traditional medicine.

4. Jackfruit

Jackfruit (Artocarpus heterophyllus) trees, widely spread in Southeast Asia, is believed to originate from India. This plant is usually grown in areas that have rainfall of more than 1500 mm per year. The trees is less tolerant of cold air, drought and flooding.

Jackfruit is very sweet and fragrant. It can be indulged as fresh one but can also be used as a mixture of ice or juice. In fact, in some regions, jackfruit is also processed as a complementary dish or snacks. Consuming jackfruit is believed to bring benefits such as healing wounds quickly, preventing cancer and treating asthma. It is because the fruit is rich with Vitamin A, C, Magnesium, Riboflavin, Niacin and Zinc.

5. Cempedak

Cempedak has shape similar to jackfruit but smells a bit like durian. Apart from its distinctive aroma, cempedak is also famous for its sap. This fruit originates from the Malay Peninsula, and is widespread from the Tenasserim region in Burma and Thailand, to parts of the Indonesian archipelago: Sumatra, Borneo, Sulawesi, Maluku and Papua.

The difference between cempedak and jackfruit is that the former has a softer texture. Its flesh melts in the mouth as the texture of durian. Cempedak is often processed for various delicacies.

6. Nangka Landa

Nangka Landa or soursop is also locally known as sirsak. The name of sirsak is taken from a Dutch word of zuurzak, meaning “sour bag”. It is believed to originate from tropical region in America.

Nangka landa contains lots of carbohydrates, vitamin C, vitamin B1 and vitamin B2. The seeds, however, are poisonous but they are good for natural insecticides. Its flesh has a distinctive sour taste. The ripe ones can be eaten directly or can also be made for juice, dodol, and cakes. Its fragrance can be processed for perfume.