Tingle Berries (Syzgium aqueum)

Also called Watery Rose Apple and Water Cherry, these small red, bell-shaped fruit are crunchy and acid-sweet.  I've just got some in from Atherton Tableland from the grower and I must admit I'm also looking forward to doing some cooking with them.  The tree can reach from 3 - 10 metres and has a short, crooked trunk branching close to the ground.  It's flowers are fragrant and are pale-yellow.  The tree is only suited to low altitudes in the tropics and areas where there is rainfall fairly well spaced throughout the year.

It is also known in Malaysia, Indonesia and India.  It is grown for its edible fruits, its hard wood; which is used to make tools  and also its bark which is said to have theraputic benefits.  A decoction of the astringent bark is a local application on thrush.

In Indonesia the water apple is loved by children who eat it to relieve thirst.  The fruits are sold in markets skewered onto bamboo sticks, also served in salads which can be a ceremonial dish for new mothers.

According to research done by RIRDC, (Rural Industries Research and Development Corporation)

The antioxidant activity of fresh and dried plant extracts of the Syzygium aqueum were studied using beta-carotene bleaching and the 2,2'-azinobis(3-ethyl-benzothiazoline-6-sulfonic acid) (ABTS) radical cation assay. The percentage of antioxidant activity for all extract samples using both assays was between 58 and 80%. The fresh samples had higher antioxidant activity than the dried samples. The results of the beta-carotene bleaching assay were correlated (R(2) = 0.9849) with those of the ABTS assay.


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