What is Salak Fruit?
Salak fruit has a rather unusual scaly appearance. It has a hard outer skin, but the flesh inside is very soft and tastes similar to a sweet pineapple. Originally, salak fruit is an Indonesian fruit. It grows on a short-stemmed tree of the same name, salak tree. If you have ever had this fruit, you would know that it is an amazingly sweet fruit that reminds you of a blend of various flavors such as of pineapple, pear, and bananas.
Aroma-wise, salak fruit smells like that of lilies or jasmine. It has a sweet, mild aroma which is very inviting. Texture-wise, the salak fruit is crispy from the inside like an apple and contains a seed is inedible. This fruit is native to the islands of Indonesia, Java, and Malaysia. However, it is now also being cultivated in Australia and Queensland.
Salak Fruit is Snake Fruit
Known by the scientific name, Salacca zalacca, salak fruit is also commonly called snake fruit. This name is mainly attributed to the appearance of this fruit as it has a scaly skin. The shape of this fruit is mostly termed as globose with a rounded top and tapering bottom.
The characteristic scales on the skin of salak fruit are usually brownish-orange or yellowish. Some say that the lobes of this fruit also resemble peeled garlic.
Salak (Snake Fruit) Nutritional Facts
100 grams of salak fruit serving contains:
- 82 Calories
- 21 grams of Carbohydrates
- 2 grams of Dietary Fiber
- 10% of your daily Vitamin C requirement
Data is taken from MyFitnessPal.
Types of Salak Fruit
1. Salak Yogyakarta
Salak Yogyakarta belongs to a family of salak fruit known as Salak Pondoh. Besides being native to Indonesia, this type of salak fruit is exceptionally popular because of its sweet smell.
2. Salak Bali
This type of salak fruit is round and conical. It grows in bunches of 10 to 20 fruits together on the palm tree. It is cultivated in numerous Indonesian villages, namely, Sibetan, Nongan, Candidasa, and Besakih. If you eat this type of salak fruit, it leaves a slight starchy feel in your mouth.
3. Salak Gula Pasir
This is by far the most expensive of the varieties of salak fruit. Salak Gula Pasir translates to fine-grained sugar – which is justified as this type of salak fruit is very sweet. Owing to its sweetness, this type of salak fruit is also utilized in making salak wine.
4. Salak Ambarawa
This type of salak fruit is native to the Bejalen village besides Ambarawa, Semarang, and Central Java. Divided further, salak Ambarawa has two further types, Nangka and Petruk. Salak Nangka is round and sweet like a jackfruit. It has a lot of water in it. On the other hand, salak Petruk appears elongated and is blackish brown from the inside.
5. Salak Bali
It is native to Bali, as the name suggests. The people in Bali also call it Salak Putih. It is round and small with smaller seeds as compared to the other types of salak fruit. It has a crunchy and sweet taste.
6. Salak Bangkok
It is mostly cultivated in Bangkok, West Java, and Sumedang. It is shiny red from the outside when mature. It is very sweet and has a pulpy flesh.
7. Salak Condet
This type of salak fruit has become very rare as the lands on which it is cultivated are shrinking rapidly. However, measures are being taken to conserve this variety of snake fruit. It can be found in various sizes with dark brownish-black scaly skin that is one of the characteristics of salak fruit.
Salak Condet has large seeds in it. It has a distinctive sweet and sour taste, and unlike other types of salak fruit, it is not very juicy.
8. Salak Hutan
Salak Hutan is round and can be found in different sizes ranging from small to large. The scales on this type of salak fruit are red, and its pulp also appears to be reddish. It tastes very soft and has a lot of water in it.
9. Salak Si Nase
As compared to salak Hutan, this type of salak fruit is oval and is only medium-sized. The skin of this salak fruit is yellow, and it has a very distinct aroma.
10. Salak Manonjaya
It can vary in size but has a strong sweet taste. Its pulp is very juicy and tender.
11. Salak Padang Sidempuan
Salak Padang Sidempuan varies in sizes and has thicker pulp than the others. It is quite tasteless and has a sweet and sour taste. It has blackish-brown scales with hard skin.
Nutritional Value of Salak Fruit
Salak fruit is very healthy if we incorporate it into our daily diet. With its slightly acidic taste, salak fruit is an excellent source of numerous nutrients, vitamins, and essential minerals. It is loaded with proteins that help in the healthy growth of our body cells and dietary fiber which has a significant impact on improving our digestion.
Salak fruit is also an important source of vitamin C, iron, calcium, carbohydrates, and phosphorous. This fruit is highly nutritious with antioxidant properties that help in the prevention of chronic diseases, such as cardiovascular disease and stroke. The health benefits of this fruit are discussed in detail below.
Benefits of Salak Fruit
1. Improves the health of the eye
Salak fruit is claimed to be higher in antioxidant properties than mangoes or watermelons. The proportion of beta-carotene is very high in salak fruit. This is the reason why it is deemed so important for maintaining and improving the health of our eye.
Beta-carotene belongs to the class of compounds called carotenoids. Carotenoids are the main source of provitamin A, which is extremely beneficial for our eyes. Beta-carotene in salak fruit helps prevent the possible development of age-related eye disorders, such as age-related macular degeneration.
2. Good for improving the digestion
The dietary fiber in salak fruit helps regularize stomach problems. Fiber is known to soothe the digestion by being converted into a gel when mixed with water in the stomach. This helps in the smooth digestive process and hence relieves us from irregularities of bowel movements or general stomach discomfort.
In the case of diarrhea, consuming salak fruit might be very beneficial as the insoluble dietary fiber helps in the balance of excretory substances. The bark of this fruit is ascertained to have a healing effect on diarrhea.
3. Heart Healthy
Salak fruit is known to be high in the essential mineral called potassium. Potassium is known to work alongside calcium for the proper regulation of salt and water content in our bodies. Low water content in the body is extremely hazardous for the health of our heart, as it forces the heart to pump faster. This eventually results in arterial damage.
Therefore, for the heart and related systems to work properly and effectively, it is very crucial to consume fruits and vegetables that boost the water regulation in our bodies. Moreover, the antioxidant properties of the salak fruit play a significant role in maintaining the health of our heart and in preventing cardiovascular disease.
4. Helps boost memory
Salak fruit is also known as memory fruit. It is because this fruit is loaded with potassium and pectin. Potassium levels in the blood are extremely important in enhancing cognitive functioning. This essential mineral helps maintain and regulate body fluid. This balance is essential for the proper functioning of the brain.
Thus, consuming salak fruit can be extremely beneficial for you in the long term as well. Research suggests that the positive impact of potassium is also very crucial in the treatment of degenerative brain diseases such as Alzheimer’s.
5. Aids in weight loss
Due to the fiber content in salak fruit, it is regarded as an essential component of a weight loss diet. Toss it in your fruit salad or sweet yogurt to consume a low-calorie fruit that aids you in your weight loss journey. Being an excellent source of dietary fiber, salak or snake fruit can help curb binge eating as the fiber helps slow down your digestion and keeps you full for a long time.
Moreover, salak fruit contains carbohydrates which help you attain all the energy you need.
6. Salak fruit peel helps boosts immunity
Though usually the peel of the salak fruit is mostly discarded when this fruit is consumed, research has found that the peel of snake fruit helps boost immunity. This fruit is rich in nutrients and antioxidants that help in improving the body’s ability to fight pathogens.
Antioxidants in the salak fruit help protect our body from chronic disease by inhibiting the growth of free radicals. Free radicals help combat cell damage. The skin of this fruit has shown miraculous impacts on enhancing the immunity of our body by stimulating macrophage.
Salak fruit is rich with innumerable health benefits. It has an effective antioxidant effect that helps clean the body of free radicals that otherwise result in cell damage. It provides a significant precursor for vitamin A that mainly benefits the health of our eye. It has a wide array of varieties that are all very delicious and juicy. If you want something light in calories but rich in fiber to keep you satiated throughout, then snake fruit is the best option for you.