04 Aug2006

Santol Preserves

by Marketman


There was a bumper crop of santol this season, or so it seems, since our bedroom is under a fairly large santol tree and for the last month and half the fruit have been falling and hitting the G.I. sheets and causing a ruckus… I finally asked the gardener to remove as many fruit as possible and santol2give it to neighbors, passersby, or just take it home and sell it or eat it. When he came down from the roof, he had collected at least 40 kilos of ripe santol and there were still many left on the tree. And we have another santol tree in our front yard that yielded about 30 kilos on the same week. I like santol, but not that much. The santol in our yard are quite small but the fruit is sweet. Besides the homegrown fruit, I spied tons of huge Bangkok santol on our recent trip to Subic, where they were selling the fruit roadside at an outrageous PHP35 per kilo, I feigned shock, attempted to bargain to little success, scoffed and quickly retreated to the car in a huff. The same exact type of santol could be had on the Batangas roadside a few days later for just PHP8 a kilo, so feeling lucky, I bought 12 kilos worth…

Now why would I buy large Bangkok santol if we were swimming in small “native” santol back at the house? To try two different versions of santol preserved in syrup, of course… First up, the smaller santol4santol in syrup…these are the smaller cut in lighter syrup in the photographs. Here I did not caramelize the syrup for too long and perhaps the tannins or other natural colors in the santol were not as strong so I ended up with an anemic looking preserve, but they tasted really good. The second batch are large chunks of the Bangkok santol in a darker syrup and these are delightlfully complex, possess an intense santol flavor and are great on toast or with cheese. These are closer to the color of the santol preserves or jam I made last year that were the perfect batch, as far as I am concerned. The balance between the softness of the fruit (not overly soft), the amount of liquid or jelly, the color of the syrup and the depth of flavor seemed to easy to do then but wasn’t that easy to replicate this year!

To make, take several kilos (maybe 5-6 kilos) of good santol and put them in a large pot and cover with water and bring to a boil, boil for say 10-15 minutes, drain and cool. When cool enough to handle, carefully peel the tough outer layer of skin off, taking care not to remove too much of the under layer of pulp. Carefully slice the santol in half at its equator and extract the seeds. Place the santol halves in a large glass or santol3ceramic bowl and cover either with rice washing water or just plain water. Soak for 12 hours, change the water and soak for another 12 hours. Remove and slice the santol halves into the desired size. Boil some water and plunge the slices into the boiled water for say 3-4 minutes, just to kill off any surface cooties… check the softness of the fruit, they should be medium softj, not hard, not overly soft. Put the fruit in a colander and drain. Next take a kilo or more of sugar, I always err on too much syrup and throw some out if excessive, and cook this on medium heat with 2-3 cups of water. Once the syrup is a little thickened and falls off a spoon like a “thread,” but still clear, add the santol pieces and cook for 10-12 minutes. Shut off the heat, soak the santol in the syrup for 12 hours. Drain the fruit in a colander and place the syrup back on the fire and once hot, add the santol yet again for about 3-5 minutes until it looks like jam. All of these instructions are useless if you don’t go with the flow and watch the consistency of the preserve…that is your best guide and I find the results vary with source of fruit, length of cooking, thickness of santol skins, etc. I store the jam in bottles and refrigerate…it will keep for 2 months at least. Last year, I did the whole bottling thing with boiling the bottles under water to sterilize but it was too much of a pain in the neck…although necessary if you want to have long-lasting preserves. The taste of the jams? Spectacular! Takes you back to your childhood in a flash. Terrific over cream cheese on wheat toast. Great with slices of salty manchego.



  1. Apicio says:

    My mouth wells up just looking at the pictures. I wonder how you would approach a dryer candied santol, say something approaching Australian glaced apricots in colour and texture.

    Aug 4, 2006 | 10:33 am


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  3. Marketman says:

    Apicio, I suspect that is highly possible. Just let it sit in the sugar/syrup for longer, the same way that the water content in chestnuts is replaced with sugar in marrons glace… then maybe dry it out a bit in a fruit dehumidifier. This version that I made is more preserved santol than a jam…the darker version had heft and a firm consistency when you bit into it. The flavor of santol was superb…

    Aug 4, 2006 | 10:43 am

  4. millet says:

    looks utterly yummy…that would be so good on top of really good cheesecake…my mom used to make santol preserves when i was a kid, but i think there was a step that required soaking in lye solution? i think that was supposed to make it more makunat (chewy).

    Aug 4, 2006 | 11:19 am

  5. Marketman says:

    millet, I think there was a step that soaked it lye or other chemical solution…I think partially to remove the “aphudness” or astringency of the skin…you know how the raw santol pulp has that slightly bizarre textural effect on one’s tongue. The several soakings in water seems to do the trick…I’m not sure if the lye also helps final consistency of the preserve…

    Aug 4, 2006 | 11:31 am

  6. Mita says:

    millet, my grandmother’s recipe also called for soaking in a lye solution and rinsing a few times before cooking in sugar. it was the same with kundol. they then sundried it, on a bilao set on the “kulahan” to turn it into candy. gosh, brings back so many memories…

    Aug 4, 2006 | 11:37 am

  7. Jean says:

    Ah, to taste fresh santol. :(

    Aug 4, 2006 | 12:14 pm

  8. noemi says:

    I wish I’m the one who lives there. I’ll be a happy camper. One of my favorite.

    Aug 4, 2006 | 12:22 pm

  9. anonymous paul says:

    i’ve tried santol JUICE at a friend’s house once. i’m not quite sure how they make it but it was weird….well, it tasted like sweetened santol flavored water. and color was a murky brown. definitely acquired taste. the darker colored jam looks mighty fine. i wonder if you can use it to make sauces or to cook. i like the thai tender-sweet-salty-spicy preserves. dont care too much for the hard/dry stuff.

    Aug 4, 2006 | 12:26 pm

  10. Apicio says:

    Mita and Millet, was it lye or was it dissolved apog (food-grade lime, slaked lime or calcium hydroxide)? Which ever it is, it is a basic solution that is used in pickling to retain crispness and, as you mentioned, in the preparation of kundol and santol for jam and preserves. It reacts with the plant cells making them more resistant to heat which prevents the fruit pieces from turning to mush quickly. Probably the same reaction when used with corn but with this, to make it more digestible as the New World indians found out early in their history.

    Aug 4, 2006 | 12:53 pm

  11. Marketman says:

    Apicio, yes, it was lime, not lye. anonymouspaul, I have a post on santol juice in my archives, it is actually very refreshing if freshly made… Jean and Noemi, we were up to our eyeballs in santol last month…

    Aug 4, 2006 | 1:03 pm

  12. CecileJ says:

    The santol looks so sarap on the cheese and toast! Off I go na naman to Market Market to look for santol preserves! Magtataka na naman yung tindera why so many will be looking for it! (BTW, I still hanker for those @#$%^&!!! mangosteen preserves!)

    Aug 4, 2006 | 1:46 pm

  13. choy says:

    a delicacy in my wife’s hometown in quezon is “sinantolan” or “sinantol”. it’s actually a sidedish or appetizer, especially good with fried food. i’m not quite sure what’s in it, but it’s like a mash of santol, bagoong and gata. anyhow, it initially tasted strange to my visayan palate, but after just a couple of spoonfuls, my brain filed it into its “good stuff” folder. i hadn’t had it for years, but last month the wife went to quezon, and i was so happy she brought a good-sized jar home. good for about a week or so. not good for those on a diet.

    Aug 4, 2006 | 4:00 pm

  14. virgilio says:

    A friend just came back from his hols in the Phils and gave me four pieces of santol as pasalubong. I don’t think it’s worth the trouble making santol preserves with those so am thinking of trying my mom’s recipe of ginisang labong with santol. Santol preserves, are they commercially available?

    Aug 4, 2006 | 5:26 pm

  15. virgilio says:

    …going out of my head over this santol episode that I called home and asked our cook to make santol preserves for me and give them to a friend who’s coming to Vienna soon. And also ginisang labong with santol. I feel like naglilihi tuloy.

    Aug 4, 2006 | 6:02 pm

  16. millet says:

    ah, yes, thanks apicio, it was lime, not lye. and coincidence of coincidences, right after i read this post, my mom called up to tell me she had just cooked ginataang santol with bagoong and sili. haven’t trued labong with santol – does it also have gata?

    Aug 4, 2006 | 6:16 pm

  17. SimplePleasure says:

    santol jelly that’s very interesting. how do you eat it in a toast? what do you do with the seeds and the soft white part? that’s my favorite part of the fruit

    Aug 4, 2006 | 7:46 pm

  18. Marketman says:

    SimplePleasure, you only use the “skin” or pulp and not the white fleshy seeds when you make the preserve. Virgilio, I have not seen santol preserves sold commercially so it was a good idea you had some made for you…the last fruits of santol season are still in the market…

    Aug 4, 2006 | 7:57 pm

  19. twisted diva says:

    oh to have fruit trees in our backyard! lucky you, market man.

    Aug 5, 2006 | 3:58 am

  20. s.anne says:

    hi millet, no gata in Labong with santol. My grandma was using the green one, she’s after the sourness of the fruit. She also add saluyot and for me it taste superb.

    Aug 5, 2006 | 4:27 pm

  21. maria says:

    woah! i never tried santol in that light. it looks so yummy! when i have a free day this week, i’ll have the santol tree harvested.

    have you ever tried the sinantol? it’s a bicolano specialty. someone gave me a tub last week. it can be paired perfectly with pinakbet.

    Aug 7, 2006 | 5:37 pm

  22. Marketman says:

    maria et al, I actually have a santol, prawn and gata recipe in the archives, click here https://www.marketmanila.com/archives/santol-sugpo-sa-gata-santol-and-prawns-in-coconut-milk – it was interesting though not a grab-you-by-the-seat-of-my-pants dish!

    Aug 7, 2006 | 5:43 pm

  23. goodtimer says:

    my aunt just gave me santol preserves last night and i asked for the procedure. yes, you first soak the skins overnight in rice washing, change the water the following day, adding a sprinkling of lime or “apog” to the water and leaving to soak overnight again. then you cook it in syrup. i think the apog made the santol “makunat”, giving it that gigil to eat factor. it was heavenly!

    Aug 18, 2006 | 12:12 am

  24. lhekz says:

    santol is one of my favorite fruit here in the pines.

    Aug 30, 2007 | 1:12 pm

  25. lhekz says:

    wow its so delicious

    Aug 30, 2007 | 1:13 pm

  26. marty says:

    that santol preserve looks really good…i would like to make one someday…maybe after my thesis…im making a study about the effects of lime(apog) in other food products…can anyone give me some more related literature about this topic?..
    please…i’d appreciate all the help i can get…thank you…

    Oct 26, 2007 | 6:06 pm

  27. Dale says:

    i’m just wondering, how do you keep the freshly sliced/peeled santol, um, fresh? hehe. i mean before it turns dark and taste a lil bitter.

    Mar 12, 2008 | 12:49 pm

  28. Dennis says:

    What’s the secret to keep your Santol Preserve Chewy (Makunat)i tried using lime solutions or (Apog)but dn’t know how to use it, would you know how much ratio needed to make it real chewy ? thanks

    Jul 19, 2008 | 10:08 am

  29. chin says:

    hello paano po gawin plzz i need to make this now…

    Sep 18, 2008 | 4:29 pm

  30. kloie says:

    um…great tecniques

    Sep 24, 2009 | 5:31 am


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