Bilimbi

Bilimbi, commonly known as cucumber tree or tree sorrel, is a fruit bearing tree and is a close relative of carambola. The tree as well as the fruit is popular by different names in different languages. Bilimbi is quite different in its physical appearance, flavor and uses than that of carambola. In Malaya, this is termed as Belimbing asam and in Indonesia it is Blimbing wuluh. This exceptional exotic fruit is highly popular in Thailand and Singapore. It is a rare plant and few growers produce them.

Scientific Name

Scientifically Bilimbi is known as Averhhoa bilimbi.

Bilimbi Picture

Bilimbi

Common Names

Bilimbi is widely popular throughout the world and is also known as

  • Cucumber tree
  • Bilincha
  • Blimbin
  • Mimbro
  • Kaling Pring
  • Pepino de Indias
  • Birambi
  • Vinagrillo
  • Tirigur

Plant

Bilimbi tree is attractive and at the same time is a long-lived tree. The tree reaches up to a height of 5-10 m. The leaves are bunch up at the branch tips and are 12-20 m in length. The leaves comprise of 11-37 alternate leaflets with pointed tips. The flowers are yellowish green in color and are borne in hairy panicles.

Description

The description of this edible fruit is given below.

Shape:  Bilimbi is cylindrical and ellipsoid in shape.

Length: The fruit grows to a length of 4-10cm.

Breadth:  The disc like seed is 6 mm wide.

Color:  These fruits are green in color.

Texture: It is juicy and crunchy.

Taste: The fruit is mildly sour and juicy.

Habitat and Distribution

Bilimbis are native to Moluccas but are widely seen in Indonesia, Philippines, Bangladesh, Myanmar, and Sri-Lanka. It was in the year 1793 that Bilimbi was introduced to Jamaica. In India also, Bilimbi trees are widely spread.

This tropical tree prefers growing in regions having huge amount of rainfall throughout the year. The tree also requires protection from cold to grow properly.

Tree Cultivation

This particular tree is rarely cultivated and is mostly planted in house gardens. Cultural treatment is required for their growth. It grows well in tropical climate. The plant requires soil having adequate moisture. Well-drained rich soil will be ideal for its growth. Plenty of water is required during the cultivation

Pictures of Bilimbi

Bilimbi Picture

Nutritional Facts

This nutritional value is obtained from every 100 g of the fruit

Calcium – 3.4mg

Phosphorous – 11.1 mg

Riboflavin – 0.026mg

Carotene – 0.035mg

Niacin – 0.302mg

Moisture – 95mg

Iron – 1.01mg

Calcium – 3.5mg

Thiamine – 0.010mg

Ash – 0.30-0.40mg

Fiber – 0.6mg

Health Benefits

Bilimbi offers some of the best health benefits. The fruit is popular worldwide for its sour flavor and is also used as a spice in cooking some of the delicious seasonal dishes.

  • It is capable enough for eliminating phlegm and reducing heat from the body.
  • It has anti-inflammatory properties.
  • It is advised for treating high blood pressure and the treatment is quite effective.
  • For reducing the pain of cavities, cucumber tree is used.
  • The juice extracted from bilimbi fruit is effective in eliminating cough.
  • The fruit is good for treating rheumatism.
  • It is effective in treating acne.

Uses

The tree as well as the fruit is used for several purposes.

Edible uses

  • The juice of this fruit is tangy and refreshing.
  •  Apart from that, bilimbi is used as a spice in cooking delicious and appetizing curries.
  • It is used instead of mango for preparing chutney and is preserved.

Medicinal uses

Bilimibi tree as well as the fruit is full of medicinal properties.

  • The leaves are applied as a paste on itchy skin.
  • Malayans use the leaves for treating venereal diseases.
  • Leaves are also used for treating cold and cough.
  • Paste of the pickled bilimbi is applied over the body to get rid of fever.
  • A syrup prepared from the fruit helps in getting rid of fever.
  • The fruit also helps in stopping rectal bleeding and eliminating internal hemorrhoids.
Bilimbi Flower Photo

Bilimbi Flower

 

Other uses 

  • The wood is frequently used in carpentry. 
  • The fruit juice has high concentration of oxalic acid, useful for bleaching.

Side Effects

Consumption of bilimbi is good for our health but overconsumption can lead to digestion problems.

Recipes

Bilimbi is used for preparing some yummy dishes

  • Bilimbi toffee
  • Bilimbi squash
  • Bilimbi curry
  • Bilimbi wine
Bilimbi Tree Image

Bilimbi Tree

Storage

Bilimbi fruits should be stored under cold storage. Storing in cool place will keep the fruit fresh for 2-3 days. Bilimbi should be preserved by sun-drying.

Availability

Bilimbi is a popular fruit and is available in fruit markets at a reasonable price. Bilimbi is available throughout the year. It is available online as well.

During Pregnancy

One can have the fresh figs during pregnancy but in less proportion. Not much is known about the fact.

Interesting Facts

Know more about bilimbi

  • Bilimbi tree bears hundreds of fruits every year.
  • The sun dried bilimbi is called asam sunti.
  • Bilimbi should not be eaten raw.
  • The flowers of bilimbi tree are sometimes conserved in sugar.

Images

Here are a few bilimbi images.

Images of Bilimbi

Bilimbi Image

Photos of Bilimbi

Bilimbi Photo

References:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Averrhoa_bilimbi

http://healthyfood-list.blogspot.in/2011/12/cucumber-tree-averrhoa-bilimbi-benefits.html

http://www.livestrong.com/article/553584-antibacterial-effect-of-bilimbi-fruit-extract/

http://www.hort.purdue.edu/newcrop/morton/bilimbi.html

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