Isip bignay (Antidesima bunius)

Antidesima bunius

A few years ago, isip trees (bignay, Antidesima bunius) were plentiful on the riverbank near our house. After Mt. Pinatubo’s eruption, only a handful remain. Today, a lone tree stands but is always laden with fruits in the summer.

The fruit which was taken for granted seems to have found a following with products such as bignay wine and jam being newly marketed to the high-end clientele.

This is how the Department of Agriculture defines it:

Indigenous to Southeast Asia. A small, attractive dark green, dioecious tree attaining a height of 10 m. Fruits are small, 8-10 mm long, dark red or purple when ripe, juicy and subacid containing a single flat seed. The fruits make an excellent wine and can also be made into jam and jelly.

isip bignay

In Pampanga, as far as I know, nobody processes isip into the abovementioned products. It is better known for its medicinal properties and as a souring agent for sigang. The leaves, twigs and bark are boiled and taken as a tisane to relieve hypertension, among others.

But a simple no fuss recipe to eat isip fruits is simply with salted shrimp paste! Mash the ripe fruits with the hands and remove the seeds. Season with baguc (bagoong) and that’s it. This is very similar to the camias recipe I posted sometime back.

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