Category Archives: Flora

Kampupot

Unlike photographs, our memories are our most ardent source of scent records.  Today, in the bustling market of Santiago City (Isabela), my cousin took me around to buy canning supplies and other things I need at home.  While we navigated the interior of the market, a certain smell kept on catching my attention.

Kampupot (single petal crown). Jasminum sambac.  Sampaguita.

Jasminum sambac

The scent takes me back to a lot of places–all pleasant, some antiquated religious practices, or just sheer bliss of enjoying the simple beauty yet complex scent of a sampaguita.  Needless to say, I almost bought them all from the lady vendor.  Now, my house smells like heaven.

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The Generous Tamarind Tree

Couple days ago a family of tamarind harvesters asked my mother if they could harvest our tamarind fruits.  They’d buy the fruits but they’d also climb the tree.  It’s a family of 6–the parents plus 4 children.  The oldest child in tow, about 12 years old is also a tree climber like his father.  The rest of the kids are 6, 5 and a 2-year old.

 

The harvesters climbed the 40′ tree so effortlessly.  And because the fruits are mostly at the end of the branches, they had to go as close as possible at the end of the branches.

magoes,tamarind,kids 076 (533x800)           magoes,tamarind,kids 037 (800x533)

 

They harvested about 2 large sacks.

magoes,tamarind,kids 045

 

They only took the green tamarind and left us the ripe ones.  The following day, there were just too much sampalok and I didn’t want to give them away.  So, I made jam.

tamarind jam

Here’s how to make the sampalok jam:

 

INGREDIENTS

2 kilos ripe tamarind, peeled and deveined

1 liter filtered water

1 1/2 kilos washed sugar

1 tbsp sea salt

 

Braise cleaned tamarind until pulp has disintegrated.  Using a strainer with large holes (colander is ok), ladle solid tamarind particles and push through sieve.  Discard solids.  All these can be done over the pot/kawali/vat.  Over medium heat, add sugar and salt, stir and reduce until mixture covers the back of the spoon.  Mixture should just be right–not too thick, not too runny.  When jam cools down, it’ll become thicker.

Pour hot tamarind jam directly from the stove to clean canning jars or any contraption you may want to store this in.  Pasteurization is necessary if you’re planning on storing this for a year–just follow canning instructions.  Otherwise, keep it on a tight-lid container and store in the fridge.   Enjoy with a piece of toast or a hot pandesal, or as an accoutrement for Manchego slices.

When life gives you tamarinds, make a sensational Sampalok Jam!

sampalokjam 019

 

 

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Sanggumay Dreams

BBQ Sangummay 022

Intoxicating perfume.  Vivid colors of purple, violet, and mauve.  Orchids of my childhood often made into a corsage or simply left as is adorning the dark bark of  a [tamarind] tree.  But, wait!  It also comes in white!  Like the Duchess of Alba–an albino sanggumay.

sanggumayputi 008

 

Side by side, they compliment each other.  These are my botanical treasures.  They look best after a night rain and a foggy morning.  Truly jewels in the heart of the rainforest (or my front yard).

orchids

Click here for more information about Sanggumay.

“If you take care of a heart properly, with immeasurable patience, it will blossom like Sanggumay.”  (I just made this up).  Ha!

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