It is duhat season in a big, big way around our home in Batangas. For some reason, there are years when duhat trees bear a minimal amount of fruit, and then there are years when they are just heavily laden with thousands and thousands of fruit. I am not sure if it has to do with the weather, the pollination aided by the wind or bees, the moon or tides but the erratic or seemingly unpredictable duhat season is part of what makes this fruit so memorable. I have written about duhat before, so please re-visit that link if you want the scientific names and other bits of duhat trivia. But this weekend we are at the beach and while the duhat season has been at its peak for the past 2-3 weeks, some of the trees around us are still loaded with an incredible amount of fruitâ€¦
Duhat or Lomboy, as it is referred to in parts of the Visayas, and definitely in Cebu, has the odd mixture of dry mouthfeel and sweetness. The Kid has some friends over with her this weekend, and two of them had NEVER tried duhat before. Their initial reaction to tasting the fruit for the first time ever? â€œIt feels like the fruit sucked all the moisture out of my mouthâ€¦â€ or â€œIt feels weird.â€ This is definitely the â€œaphudâ€ effect or what I can only best describe as being somewhat astringent, though not necessarily in a facial astringent kind of way. Some folks never get over this weird effect and donâ€™t fancy this fruit at all. I happen to have very fond childhood memories of duhat and so I kind of look for the aphud effect in a bizarre kind of way.
The last time I brought duhat up in a post, some of the readers suggested that instead of eating it with rock salt (the only way I have eaten it so far), I should try eating it after tossing it with some sugar. Intrigued by this suggestion, I tried both concoctions this morning and conducted a taste test. First, I crossed the street to a tree with tons of â€œlow-hanging fruitâ€ so I had to exert nearly zero calorie effort to get a bowl of plump, totally ripe fruit. I collected it in a single layer on a flat dish, not a plastic bag that has a tendency to smush the fruit together and bruise it. Back home, a gentle rinse in several changes of cool water and a 30 minute â€œnapâ€ in the fridge meant the fruit were clean and cool, exactly the way I like them (too long in the fridge and they are too cold)â€¦
Next, I placed a single serving (say 20-25 fruit) in a shallow glass bowl, sprinkled the fruit with either sugar or rock salt and covered the fruit with another glass bowl and gently tossed the fruit. A few minutes for the salt and sugar to work their magic and a rapid succession of duhat popping into my mouth and I was completely stumped! Did I prefer the salty mixture that I had grown up with all my life? Or was this sweetish aphud feel of the new concoction going to win me over. Oddly, I liked both versions equally. I couldnâ€™t pick one over the other. So I decided on this. In the mornings, I would eat the duhat/sugar mixture. It seemed gentler, calmer and less jarring. But in the afternoons, the salty version was more appropriateâ€¦ heehee. I know, this will sound mental to the casual visitor to marketmanila.comâ€¦ but unless you do as I have just done and make up your own minds, you will just have to take my comments as the gospel on duhat enjoymentâ€¦ If only you could drop by our home right now, there are hundreds of kilos of fruit still in the trees. The areas around the trees are already filled with rotting and fermenting fruit and it smells a bit like a winery at the momentâ€¦ ahhh, itâ€™s duhat season in a big wayâ€¦