What is Ambarella or Golden Apple, and how can be used

What is ambarella

This fruit belongs to the Anacardiaceae family, known scientifically as Spondias Dulcis. Other names are June plum, golden apple, or cythere.

It is a tropical tree with edible fruits of a high export percentage. The harvesting occurs between September and mid-January.

In 2018, experts made a Reference Guide of Exotic Frits published in Science Direct. They affirm that this fruit is a good source of minerals, vitamin C, fiber, and pectin.

Origin and Current Cultivation

The fruit of ambarella is native from Malaysia to Polynesia and is widely used in the surrounding countries, such as India, for example. However, some people say it was first harvested in the Philippines in 1915.

It is grown in Australia, Gabon, and Zanzibar but on a smaller scale. It also grows in Cuba, Venezuela, Puerto Rico, Trinidad, and Suriname.

It propagates from the seed germination and formation of seedlings for cultivation. Its growth is slow initially, but it can grow up to 60 cm in height in two years under favorable conditions.

The soil must be rich in humus, rich in decomposed organic residues, and moisture to be suitable for ambarella’s growth.

Suppose the sowing of the seed is done directly in the field. In that case, it must be done quickly and orderly, without much exposure to the sun, and with a good irrigation and drainage system. Still, if you want better results, its growth is quite favorable in clay soil.

The growth of this tree is ideal in climates where daytime temperatures range from 20° to 30° C (68 – 86°F). Also, farmer J.J. Ochse, because of his experience in crops, recommends that, in the first years of planting, you should provide some shade to the plant. 

The harvest must be during its maturation phase, which takes between 6 and 12 weeks from the first time you see some tiny fruits growing.

Physical Characteristics

The ambarella presents a large dioecious tree, which means there are both female and male species, measuring between 6 and 25 m in height (20 – 82 ft) with a trunk whose diameter can measure approximately 75 cm (8 in). Regarding the bark and leaves, both have a smell that tends to be resinous.

Its leaves are pinnate and perennial with a pyramidal crown, have short petioles that hold the apical, and are elliptical or oblong with 4 to 10 cm (1.5 to 4 in) size. They are thick, whole, and leathery. They have an olive-green coloration in their upper part and greenish-yellow on the lower side.

The flowers are tiny, not so visible in whitish panicles and yellow apexes. They are solitary with four sepals arranged in pairs, thick and fleshy.

The fruit is juicy and aromatic, of cylindrical shape that can reach 6 to 10 cm (2 to 4 in). It has a series of hairs or irregular spines in its lining. The case is thin green that turns yellowish in its maturation process.

Inside a seed developed entirely whitish, it is rough and wrapped by a series of white spikes.


The fruit is considered exotic, juicy with a sweet and sour taste, and subacid. The pulp is crispy and firm. Its taste and smell tend to be reminiscent of pineapple.

If the ripening of the fruit is advanced, it tends to be soft. The smell that it gives off is usually fermented or acidic. It’s not easy to extract the pulp due to the seed’s formation and the texture it acquires from the pulp.

Nutritional Information

The fruit in its nutritional information contains 9.76% pectin, minerals, thiamine, riboflavin, Vitamin A, B, and C, dietary fiber, and exhibits antimicrobial extracts, antioxidants, and thrombolytic cytotoxic properties.

Its nutritional table is as follows:

ComponentContent per 100 gr
Water87.17 g
Energy157.30 Kcal
Humidity85,47 %
Proteins1 g
Fibre    1.02 g
Carbon hidrates12 g
Fats0.2 g
Sucrose (Sugar)10 – 54 %
Manganese70 mg
Zinc94 mg
Phosphorus      22 mg
Calcium             17.4 mg
Iron      3 mg
Acids0,47 %
Ashes0,65 %
Vitamin C30 mg

Properties and Benefits

This fruit’s medicinal properties and nutrients are pervasive, and you can take advantage of the leaves, the fruit, and the bark.

The leaves and bark prepared in infusions are usually used as a therapeutic agent due to the high content of flavonoids.

The fruit is very dense in nutrients and helps improve health in general features.

Increases the immune system:

This fruit is rich in vitamin C, so it tends to improve the immune system. In addition, it allows the wound healing process and enhances collagen formation.

Improves skin health:

Due to the vitamin content of the fruit, it nourishes the skin and helps tissue repair. It also increases collagen production and treats diseases that affect the skin. An infusion is prepared with the tree’s leaves and used as a moisturizing body cream.

To treat itchy skin or scabies, the roots of the ambarella work well with an infusion.

Helps treat cough:

An infusion of 4 fresh leaves of the tree boiled in two cups with waterworks as a complement for the treatment of cough. You can also add honey for a more significant effect.

You can use the fruit itself for the same treatment. In this case, the pulp is crumbled and compressed with water. Then add salt and consume it three times a day.

Improves vision:

Because the fruit ambarella is a good source of vitamin A, it plays an essential role in the functioning of visual perception because the main component of this vitamin A is retinol, which allows the best distribution of images through the retina. 


The uses vary from jams, jelly, and juices to syrup. In addition, it gives flavor to soups, sauces, and stews.

The seeds can also be consumed, roasted, or toasted and have medicinal properties for osteoarthritis.

The pulp is rigid and crispy. If you slice and stew it with a bit of water and sugar, after sifting it, you can get a rich product similar to apple sauce, but with a more pleasant flavor for its bittersweet faculty that it has.

You can use it in pickles or sauces to flavor your delicious dishes or meat stews when it’s not ripe.

As for the tender leaves, they have a quality that can be consumed fresh in Southeast Asia. In Indonesia, they are steamed and consumed as vegetables with fish and rice.

The leaves are also used in cooking meats, allowing them to soften during the time boiling.

Other uses attributed to this tree are the manufacture of canoes with wood in the Society Islands.