The boss told us to bring working clothes the next day. The two of us were requested to aide rambutan harvesting. The last fruit order was huge and cannot be handled by one and only harvester.
There are two personnel assigned for harvesting but the other was currently taking care of his sick wife.
We agreed without any hesitations. Working in air-conditioned room every working day is boring. Getting out every now and then is a good idea.
Harvesting rambutan is nice. Climbing up trees about five times taller than me. Getting fruits and throwing it down the grassy land. When hunger is felt, breaking some red fruits will suffice.
How about the thirst? Hope we can get free buko too!
Me while harvesting. It was obvious that I was not a good climber. I firmly fix myself by holding the branch with two legs.
The rambutan tree has relatively tough branches. I was confident, branch breakage was unlikely.
Fruits were selectively picked by hand. Rare ripes were left behind. Fruits on far thin branches were pricked using long bamboo sticks.
Rambutan fruits on grasses ready for packing in rice sacks.
It was a really nice experience. I realized,rambutan is best eaten when picked by me. Eating while standing on a swaying branch. Selecting fruits on peaks of its ripeness. Fruits with dark reddish skin are juicy, sweet and overflowing flavors.
We were invited to macapuno processing area. They were processing and selling sweetened macapuno and macapuno bucayo to partially fund the macapuno tissue culture project. The inviter wanted us to buy some of their sweet products. Only sweetened macapuno was available so we had a free taste of it and bought half kilo each.
The real area purpose is propagating tissue cultured macapuno tree. The coconut embryos are being extracted and grown inside test tubes under controlled environment. Instead of discarding the coconut meat, they are processing and selling it as additional source of funds.
The native macapuno tree bears nuts with only 1-3 macapuno per bunch. Bearing all non-macapuno nut is likely. When a tissue cultured makapuno seedling is grown, it can bear as much as 80% percent macapuno nuts (need more confirmation though).
A 100 percent macapuno yield is often not possible due to cross pollination with regular coconut trees – pollination by insects and wind. The suggested solution is plant the whole island with tissue cultured macapuno tree.
The nut when fully matured is almost filled with soft meat (compared to hard meat of regular). The macapuno nuts below are probably still immature and perhaps the right harvest stage for embryo extraction and sweets processing. Or maybe just a regular coconut. I forgot to asked about it.
A regular nut produce sounds when shaken. The sound of water striking to inner walls. The macapuno due to its fullness, never produce this sounds. The two nuts are sorted by means of this property.
Macapuno, like the picture above are scraped carefully to produce long meat strands for sweetened product making. Remaining meat is scraped again with a spoon and used for making bukayo.
Macapuno tissue culture may not be the right term. The germination rate of macapuno nut is very low. By extracting the embryo and growing it inside the laboratory, the chance of germination can be increased. According to our boss, the more appropriate term is embryo rescue or bio rescue.
I bought the sweetened macapuno for my wife who recently gave birth to a baby girl. However, mother-in-law said she cannot eat macapuno yet. The reason – she is breastfeeding.
Can you still remember the last time you saw a ripe mango that is similar to image below.The mango color are mixture of green, yellow and red. Red around the stalk, then yellow and green toward the tip. In our province it is called bugnoy na sapadera.
Pico variety also have bugnoy. The carabao mango or the Manila Super Manga’s bugnoy is a little different – the red coloration is not present. Correct me if I am wrong about carabao mango. The indian mango barely turn yellow when ripe.
Father told me that red color is caused by sun’s ray. He has basis for his statement cause I observed that ripe mangoes under shade never turned red.
Mangoes are usually induced to bear fruits. That was my father’s work when I was still young. I always go with him from flower induction, to pest extermination and to the best part – harvesting.
Mangoes are harvested when fruits are matured and some of it begin to ripen. The fruits that ripen while still attached to tree are called bugnoy. The fruit taste is really awesome, it is sweeter and yummier. You should really try it for yourself.
Bugnoy mangoes command a higher price. More than double the price of green mangoes and calcium carbide ripen mangoes. Despite of its expensive price, it is very salable – selling like hot cakes.
Mangoes naturally ripen on trees are superior in terms of organoleptic properties. In addition, their are firmer. What could be the reasons? I have only two reasons in mind. Feel free to add more!
1) The substance responsible for fruit ripening is ethylene. It is a hormone naturally produce by plants. On the other hand, acetylene from calcium carbide is artificial. It also promote ripening but the result might not be as good as original.
2) A ripening fruit while still attached to tree continue to receive water and essential nutrients. It will stop at the time of picking. Ripening by use of calcium carbide entails a lot of heat and causes some water to evaporate and have a less firm texture. Hmm.. fruit ripen on tree might have more nutrients.