The Thai Wood Apple, also known as Bael or Matoom in Thai, is a tropical fruit that is native to Southeast Asia, including Thailand, India, and Sri Lanka. Its scientific name is Aegle marmelos. The fruit is highly valued for its unique flavor and various medicinal properties.
Description of the Thai Wood Apple fruit:
Appearance: The fruit is usually large, round, and has a woody outer shell that is hard and woody, hence the name "Wood Apple." The outer shell is green when unripe, and as it ripens, it turns yellowish-green or brown.
Size: The size of the fruit can vary, but it's generally around the size of a large grapefruit or a bit larger.
Outer Shell: The outer shell or rind is thick, tough, and somewhat bumpy, making it challenging to open. It requires some effort to crack it open and reveal the inner pulp.
Pulp: Inside the fruit, there is a brownish-yellow pulp that is aromatic and has a sweet and tangy flavor. The taste can be described as a mix of sweet and slightly sour, with a hint of bitterness.
Seeds: The pulp is surrounded by numerous small, flat, and oblong seeds. These seeds are not typically eaten and are usually discarded.
Aroma: The Thai Wood Apple has a pleasant and distinctive aroma, which adds to its appeal.
Culinary uses and benefits:
- The ripe pulp of the Thai Wood Apple is consumed fresh as a dessert or snack. It can also be used to make juices, smoothies, or traditional Thai beverages.
- In some regions, the pulp is used to make jams, jellies, and chutneys.
- The fruit is not only appreciated for its taste but also for its potential health benefits. It is believed to have medicinal properties and is used in traditional medicine for various ailments, including digestive issues and respiratory problems.
Overall, the Thai Wood Apple is a unique and culturally significant fruit in Thailand and other Southeast Asian countries, valued for its taste, aroma, and potential health benefits.