Health Benefits of Mabolo

Mabolo, also known as the velvet apple, is related to persimmons and date plums. However, mabolo’s stench and unusual flavor inhibits many from devouring this fruit with the same gusto as its close cousins. In the Philippines, mabolos are endangered because people value its hardy timber far more than the fruit itself. Indeed, mabolo wood is the base of beautiful handicrafts and expensive combs. Ask about the fruit, however, and one is met with an indifferent shrug.

Origin of Mabolo

Mabolo originates in the Philippines, specifically from Luzon to the Sibu Islands off of Malaysia’s eastern coast. Locals there know the fruit as buah mentega, and its Filipino name of mabolo means “hairy” on account of its fine-fuzzed skin. Only a handful of rural vendors sell the fruit. In Malaysia, one local described the fruit as “nearly extinct.” To protect the endangered tree, Filipino authorities place stringent regulations on the outflow of mabolo wood.

Today, mabolos pepper the low altitude forests in Sri Lanka, Taiwan, Malaysia, Bangladesh, Pakistan, Sumatra and Java. They are also hobby crops in Jamaica, Puerto Rico, Trinidad, Honduras, and Cuba.

According to the book, “Fruits of Warm Climates,” mabolos first appeared in Kolkata in 1881. Though not a popular tree, the fruit is a minor crop in India.

Nutritional Value of Velvet Apple

According to a nutritional analysis published in the paper, “Variability and Performance of Superior Velvet Apple Germ Plasm in the Hilly Region,” and a Purdue horticulture article*, 100g of edible flesh contains the following:
  • 113kcal
  • 26.6g Carb
  • 1.5g Fiber
  • .1g Fat
  • 58mg Calcium
  • 2.8g Protein*
  • 18mg Phosphorous*
  • .6mg Iron*
  • 35IU Vitamin A*
  • .02mg Thiamine*
  • .03mg Riboflavin*
  • .03mg Niacin*
  • 18mg Vitamin C*
Health Benefits of Mabolo

Several cultures use mabolo in traditional remedies. In Southeast Asia, velvet apple juice treats diarrhea, dysentery, insect bites, cough, diabetes, and stomach ailments. Bangladeshis utilize the leaves and bark to heal snakebites and to cleanse the eyes; and in Guiana, locals consume the fruit to remedy hypertension and heart problems. A tea of the bark and leaves are used to treat skin issues as well.

Little scientific research has been conducted on mabolo, but results are promising:
  • According to a study published in “Inflammation,” scientists in Korea found that velvet apple extracts exhibited anti-inflammatory activities in the airway passages of mice, thus supporting its traditional use in treating allergic bronchial asthma.
  • A study published in “Natural Product Research” indicates that the leaves have potent analgesic qualities.
  • A 2012 study published in the “International Journal of Pharmacology” found that mabolo’s leaf extracts might be a useful anti-diarrheal agent.
How to Open/Cut:

Though mabolo’s hairy skin is edible, most peel the fruit and only consume its white-fleshed pulp.

Most velvet apple varieties contain 4 to 5 large seeds that require removal. If the fruit’s shape resembles an apple, it very likely has seeds. If the fruit is globose, it might be one of the rare seedless cultivars.

To use in recipes, cut the fruit into quarters and then into eights before removing the skin. Next, take a paring knife and cut the flesh away from the heavily scented, velvety peel.  Scoop away the seeds from some of the wedges, and then place the slices into the refrigerator to lose the unpleasant smell.

NOTE: let the peeled fruit cool in the refrigerator before mixing it with any other foods. Otherwise, the ingredients will take on mabolo’s smell.


Place at room temperature, where the fruits should keep up to one week.

Mabolo Recipe Ideas and Uses:
  • Peel and slice mabolo into thin segments and sauté with oil, salt and pepper, just like a vegetable. Add as part of a stir-fry or consume as-is.
  • Peel mabolo and blend fruit chunks with coconut milk and banana for a tropical smoothie
  • Add cubes of the fruit to a salad, particularly one that includes apple, pears and bananas.
  • Make velvet apple butter by adding 1 cup of sugar for every 6 cups of fruit. Peel and chop the fruit, and then simmer in water limejuice. Remove from the heat when soft, and blend the fruit with sugar.
NOTE: when dry heated, the fruit becomes tougher and fibrous—these qualities are attractive if preparing savory stews and roasts, but may not be as desirable for use in sweet breads and creamy desserts.

Flavor Complements: Apple, pear, banana, sapota, persimmon, apricot, Asian pear, breadfruit, guava, citron, coconut, custard apple, date, jujube, melon, peach, pineapple, pomegranate, sapota, santol

Herbs, spices, and oil: Sugar, salt, lime, lemon, brown sugary/jaggery, cinnamon, nutmeg, star anise, rum, coconut milk, salt, pepper, chili

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Source: The Indian Vegan

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