Before the nuts end up bagged, sold and juiced, they're attached to a leaf or membranous wing, of sorts, which can be as long as 20 cm. So, it would be kind of neat to be around when they're whirlybirding from great heights, down to the ground.
The trees take 10-12 years to fruit and annually can produce a crop of between 10 and 40 kg. The only problem is that the tree has the capability of growing 40 metres tall and has a branchless lower trunk, making it near impossible to climb. So harvesting = chopping down the tree. An issue now being addressed and reportedly, controlled by the National Park authorities.
One minor consolation is that the bark of the felled trees is used as a veneer, while the soft timber is sometimes useful for construction scaffolding...is it just me, or do the words ‘soft’ and ‘scaffolding’ in the same sentence seem a tad unsettling?
The good news is that some of the villagers are looking into planting and farming Malva trees, to create a sustainable, renewable resource. When the juice producers situated in Chanthaburi Province can’t source enough locally grown produce, the nuts are imported from Cambodia and Laos.
So, what’s it taste like? As a drink, nothing specifically really, except for the sweetness of a little added sugar. Just like finely minced jelly suspended in candy water. And why is Angel sitting for hours on end, soaking, peeling and blending? She doesn’t sell it at her drink stall and if my Thailish serves me correctly, she sends the finished product to a health food company...possibly in Chanthaburi...can't be sure.
Whatever she does with it, it sure is a labour intensive process and we thank her for the bottles she gave us to sample. And, if you're real Malva juice nut ;) it should be consumed at precisely:
03.00 - 05.00: To help to maintain healthy lungs.
05.00 - 07.00: To improve the function of the intestines.
07.00 - 09.00: To coat the stomach.
09.00 - 11.00: To help decrease the size of the lower abdomen. High fiber content keeps the intestines moving.
19.00: To help reduce cholesterol and at bed time, to get your bowels moving in the morning.
*The malva tree was one of three species chosen for a research project on plant genetic conservation, in 1999, initiated by HRH Princess Sirindhorn.
*Alternative names: (luuk sam roong/ลูกสำรอง/pong ta lai/huang tai hai, maak joong, มากจอง) to name a few.
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