I'm just a small fish in a small corner of this big Laguna, and this is how I've been swimming it

27 March, 2011

Kamias is Ginger Lily

...and I still don't get why.  One of my favorite plants is the pink torch ginger, for its color and petals.  The kamias tree does not resemble a ginger plant at all.

  I love kamias, biting it raw dipped in salt. When I was pregnant, I craved for it, and my dad had to knock on neighbors' doors to see who had some.  The tree is not as common in peoples' backyards in Metro Manila as it used to be.  Dad had more luck finding me the native pink guava I really screamed for then. He brought me 4 precious little pieces from Paranaque to Makati.  I haven't found any even here in Santa Rosa. This time, I am in kamias heaven.  The name Laguna Ginger Lily tickles me more for a blog name than Kamias ng Laguna does, but saying kamias already sounds maasim, sour, makes me salivate.  

   I have not gone beyond, "thank  you for the kamias" with this neighbor. I think they're only too happy to let me have it than let it rot.  Apparently they have bunches of this dangling from the trees lining their back area.  They regularly give me a grocery bagful.  I have never made sinigang using kamias, but last year I pickled a bunch they gave, following a Zamboanga recipe I found in a local magazine. It was alright, but my husband didn't  trust my process and we eventually just threw it out.Last month, the harvest was so plump, but so plentiful, I knew they would just rot. Kamias is good for only two days after the picking.  So, I searched the web for jam or jelly recipes.  Most of the recipes called for "apog" or lime (for cooking, not for construction!) to soak the kamias in. Since I  had no clue where to get that, I went ahead and boiled the kamias with sugar. Pouring in CUPS of refined, white sugar into a pot frightens me, so I used less than half the recipe. The result, a tamarind-tasting jelly.   It is strange how it really tastes like jellied sampaloc. 

     I have not offered any to the kind neighbors. They are older than I am, and I am guessing prone to high-blood pressure, or even gout.  Kamias has a high oxalic acid content, and uric acid I guess. Basta it is highly acidic.  After I ate 4 crunchy raw pieces and looked at the mirror to brush my teeth, I noticed they (my usually yellow-stained teeth) seemed whiter. I googled 'teeth whitener" and "oxalic acid".  In the 1800s people used oxalic acid to whiten their teeth!


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