It's the season of the African star Apple commonly known as agbalumo "Yoruba", Udala/Udara "Igbo" or cherry in Nigeria. On my recent visit to the local market, i noticed a crowd selecting fresh udara fruits from baskets and i couldn't help but join in the fenzy. To me, a large crowd simply meant the fruits were ripe and sweet. The vendors also don't waste time in trying to lure you into buying as they usually give out free fruit samples to prospective buyers once you come around. Back in the day, i remember using the seeds for local games like Ayo or suwe. My friends and i also used to chew the flesh and skin so hard, it turned to gum...sweet memories of the good old days :(
Botanically, it's called chrysophyllum albidum. The fruit is mostly cultivated in the rural areas and is very common during the months of December to April. It has a bright orange/brown color with edible skin & dark brown seeds covered with creamy pulp which is usually eaten up. The unripe udara is sour while the ripe fruit is usually very sweet. The sweet fruits are not usually harvested from the trees, but left to drop naturally to the ground where they are picked. The fruit is mostly found in African countries such as Nigeria, Ghana, Cote d’ Ivoire, Uganda,Cameroon and Niger Republic.
- The african star apple is said to contain more vitamins A & C than orange and guava, the fruit is also rich in calcium with each serving providing up to 10 per cent of the recommended daily allowance , iron potassium, phosphorous, magnesium, tannin, flavonoids, terpenoids, and phytochemicals.
- According to research, the African star apple is said to lower blood sugar and cholesterol, and could be useful in preventing and treating heart diseases.
- In traditional medicine, the roots, barks and leaves of chrysophyllum albidum have been employed in the treatment of diseases. The bark is used for the treatment of yellow fever and malaria, while the leaf is used as an emollient and for the treatment of skin eruption, stomach ache and diarrhoea.
-The fruit is known to have anti-oxidant properties that help fight against cancer
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