Local fruits in Kalimantan (Borneo) is seasonal. The fruit season is usually approaching end of year until couple months after. Some are cultivated, such as durian, pampakin, kerantungan, rambutan, cempedak (Artocarpus integer), rambai, mangosteen, langsat. While others, considered having less economic value, simply grow naturally as karamunting, kembayau, mentawa, kapul, sentul, etc. In Tanjung Puting National Park, fruit season is when wild animals such as orangutans are few to be seen at the feeding stations.
Here are some exotic rainforest fruits of Borneo easily found in Kalimantan Tengah and a must try when they are season.
Growing wild as shrub plants in open fields, karamunting has a lovely pink flower color and soft sweet taste of fruit. The fruit, leaf, and root of karamunting have been used as herbal medicine. Rich in antioxidant and boosting hemoglobin are the fruit benefit. The velvet leaf of karamunting can be used to cure wound, diabetic, and neutralize poison. While the root extract has benefit to boost thrombocytes and as organic dye for black color.
Kembayau is commonly sold at traditional markets. The season is usually the same as langsat (Lansium parasiticum). The way to eat, this hard dark purple fruit has to be boiled first or is simply soaked into lukewarm water. When it softens, you will get the seed. Crack the seed to open and get the delicious, creamy nut inside. Local people usually eat the nut plain or with sugar. Kembayau is rich in protein, potassium, calcium, and also antioxidant.
This green and soft skin fruit has a unique way to open. Peel off skin half way from stem down, then pull stem carefully where we can get a bunch of orange color fruits sticking to stem. With soft and sweet fruit flesh with creamy taste, mentawa is closest related to tarap fruit (Artocarpus odoratissimus) and other Artocarpus family, such as cempedak, jackfruit, and breadfruit. To compare with tarap, mentawa has less strong smell and less sweet. As other artocarpus family, the seeds of mentawa are edible. Usually boiled and put a little salt, they have really savory taste.
Another unique of Borneo rainforest richness, belimbing hutan is related to rambai (B. motleyana), menteng or kepundung (B. racemosa), other Baccaurea family. It has sweet and juicy soft flesh. Belimbing Hutan is commonly in season during the month of March.