The Malay apple is named pomme d'eau (meaning water apple in English) in Martinique, malacca or malaka apple in Guadeloupe, or love apple in French Guiana or red jambose in Indonesia. Its scientific name is Syzygium malaccense. It is native from Southeast Asia especially Malaysia and Indonesia. It reached Jamaica in 1793 first before spreading in the Lesser Antilles in the 19th century. It is at this time that it would be arriving in Martinique.
There are different varieties of Malay apples. The variety is different according to the shape or the color (red, white or green). The ornamental tree par excellence attracts attention by its pyramidal silhouette, flowers and fruits. It can reach 20 meters high. Its horizontal branches bear large leaves elliptic-oblong leathery and opposite.
Its edible flowers 6 cm look like little pompoms or fuchsia pink fireworks. The fruit has a dark red skin and white fine flesh.
This fruit, oblong pyriform appearance, is usually eaten fresh. The fruit contains a large inedible brown core. The apple tree is exclusively tropical, and would not stand freezing temperatures or winter in temperate countries.
Flowering generally occurs from July to November and fruiting from March to June.
Malay apple has capacity to reduce inflammation, prevent some types of cancer, improve skin health, stimulate circulation, to make bones stronger, prevent the development or the worsening of diabetes, improve vision health, strengthen and improve the quality of hair and prevent the onset of cataracts.
In Martinique, we eat the malay apple raw. The flesh is crisp and juicy. Its taste is very sweet though barely so sweet and refreshing. In Asia, it is used in the preparation of jelly and sauce. In Puerto Rico, it is used in the design of wine. Cooked with other fruits, it reduces their acidity. The edible flowers add color to salads.