What Is A Malay Apple?

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The Malay apple fruit is a tropical fruit grown in Southeast Asia, including Malaysia, the Philippines, and Indonesia. It is a large dumb-bell shaped fruit with a hard, crunchy texture and a slightly sweet flavor.

What is A Malay Apple?

The Malay apple (Syzygium malaccense) is a fruit belonging to the family Myrtaceae. The fruit has other common names, including the mountain apple in Hawaii, rose apple, Otaheite apple, pomarosa, jambos, water apple, and pomme malac.

The unique pear-shaped or oblong fruit has thin, glossy skin that can be red, green, or yellow, depending on its maturity. The fruit’s white, spongy, and juicy flesh is moderately sweet to bland. The is only one seed in the middle of the fruit, which is not edible.

Malay apple fruit trees have straight trunks about 15 to 30m tall. They have pale brown bark, green leaves, red calyx, and pink or red petals. The tropical trees produce 4-7.5 cm (1.5-3 in) long fruits.

The History of Malay Apples

The Malay apple fruit is indigenous to the Malay Archipelago, encompassing the Philippines, Indonesia, and Malaysia. It grows in humid climates and is primarily found in Southeast Asia and some parts of the Caribbean and South America.

Due to its distinct flavor and medicinal properties, the fruit is a standard export and a significant agricultural product in many nations. For instance, Malaysia exports the fruit to the Middle East and Europe, while the Philippines exports it to Taiwan, Japan, and several other Asian nations. 

The fruit also has cultural value in many areas where it is cultivated. The fruit is used in Indonesian traditional medicine to cure various illnesses, such as coughs and sore throats. In Puerto Rico, it’s used to make wine.

Its also used in traditional Malaysian recipes like “rojak,” a fruit and vegetable salad. The fruit is commonly used in festive meals in the Philippines for special occasions like weddings and baptisms.

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Ripe Malay apple ready to be harvested.

What Does a Malay Apple Taste Like?

The Malay rose apple is sometimes viewed as a hybrid between an apple and a grape because of its crisp, earthy, and mildly sour flesh. It takes on the texture of a cooked pear when cooked, softening and becoming sweeter.

How to Tell When Malay Apples Are Ripe

Here are some tips to help determine a ripe rose apple

ColorRipe fruits are deep pink or bright red, depending on the variety. If it’s still green, the fruit is not ripe yet.
Scent The fruits have a pleasant, fragrant aroma when fully mature, unlike the sour smell of unripe fruit.
FirmnessA ripe fruit feels somewhat soft but not mushy. It is not quite mature if still stiff.
StemThe fruit is probably ripe if the stem is brown and dry. The fruit might not be ripe if the stalk is flexible and green.

Look for a solid, plump, and weighty fruit for its size when choosing a Malay apple. The skin should be flawless and blemish-free. Avoid fruits with wrinkly skin, a foul odor, or overly softness.

Cooking with Malay Apples

Here’s how to prepare Malay apples:

  1. Start by washing the fruit under running water to remove dirt.
  2. Using a sharp knife, remove the fruit’s top and bottom and cut it into thin, round slices.
  3. You can then remove the seed if need be.

The mountain apple is common in traditional cuisines’ snacks, desserts, and salads. 

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Malay apples are popular in smoothies for their earthy and tart flavors.

The following recipes are some of our favorites for using Malay apples:

Jambu Salad: A refreshing and crunchy salad made with Malay apple fruit, cucumber, and red onion, dressed with a sweet and sour dressing. 

Jambu Fritters: A popular snack in Malaysia and Indonesia, jambu fritters are made by dipping Malay apple slices in a batter made with flour, sugar, and coconut milk and then frying until crispy.

Jambu Smoothie: Blend fruit slices with yogurt, honey, and ice for a refreshing and healthy smoothie.

Jambu Jam: Make a delicious jam with Malay apple fruit by boiling it with sugar and lemon juice until it thickens. Serve it on toast or use it as a topping for pancakes or waffles.

How to Store Malay Apples

Malay apples have a limited shelf life. Therefore, storing them properly is essential to preserve their quality and freshness. The fruit’s suggested storage methods and expected shelf life are listed below:

On the counter: The fruit may be kept for up to two to three days on the counter at room temperature. However, keeping the fruit out of the sun and heat is crucial to prevent it from ripening and spoiling too rapidly.

Fridge: To extend the shelf life of the fruit, keep it in the refrigerator. Keep the fruits in the refrigerator’s crisper drawer in an airtight container or a plastic bag. Here, they can last for 5-7 days.

Frozen: You can freeze the fruit to extend its shelf life. Wash and slice the fruit into pieces. Arrange them in layers on a baking sheet and freeze them for hours. Once frozen, put it in a freezer-safe container or bag and keep it in the freezer. Frozen fruits can last for 6-8 months.

Dried: Rose apples can also be dried to prolong their lifespan. The fruit should be washed and thinly cut before being arranged on a dehydrator tray and dried at a low temperature until crisp and dry. Alternatively, leave the fruit in the sun to dry for a few days. Once the fruit has dried, keep it in an airtight container in a cool, dry area. The dried mountain apple can be kept for 6 to 8 months.

Nutritional Benefits of Malay Apples

The Malay apple fruit is rich in dietary fiber and low in fat and calories. The fruit also contains potassium, magnesium, and Vitamins C and A.

Vitamin C protects against cell damage, while vitamin A promotes healthy eyesight and proper immune functioning. Potassium regulates the body’s fluid balance and keeps blood pressure in check.

Magnesium is essential for energy production, bone health, and the proper functioning of the nerves and muscles. Anthocyanins and flavonoid antioxidants aid in reducing inflammatory responses in the body and ward against chronic illnesses, including cancer, diabetes, and heart disease.

Where to Purchase Malay Apples

The Malay rose apple fruit is occasionally sold at specialized shops that provide a wide range of exotic fruits. Farmers’ markets and Asian markets sometimes carry it as well. In other areas, though, it could not be readily accessible, and season may also affect availability.

Depending on the location, there are several times of the year when rose apple fruit is most readily available. It is generally in season, from late summer to early winter.


Tabitha is a freelance writer with love for food and drinks. She loves gardening and is always looking for new ways to get more fresh produce. She also loves animals and has dairy goats, chicken, sheep, a dog, and a cat at her home.

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