Msau is delicious. Now, what exactly is it?
July 17, 2011 9:48 PM   Subscribe

African-fruit-filter: Msau: what is it?

I am in Malawi, and my favorite snack here is a fruit called msau. Msau grow on trees. They are about the size of a large grape, with an apple-like texture and a stone/pit in the center. The flavor varies from tree to tree, with some trees producing sweet and apple-like flavored fruits, while other trees produce more sour fruits. They have a shelf-life of about 1-2 days from picking, after which time they turn a reddish brown color and the insides become mushy. The flavor then more closely resembles a fancy cheese of some sort.

I don't know any alternate names for this fruit. I've googled msau, africa, and fruit, but only get 1 citation for a ethnopharmacology paper in Tanzania (and lots of hits for a Russian agricultural college).

I would like to know: other regional names for the fruit, a Linnaean name (if possible), and what, if any, similar fruits might be available for my greedy snackery once I return to the US.
posted by palindromic to Food & Drink (3 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
A ha. It's a jujube. Ziziphus mauritiana.
posted by elsietheeel at 9:56 PM on July 17, 2011 [1 favorite]

Its called ber in North India and sour ones are used for pickles. You might want to try preserving some and taking back with you since I've never actually seen them in teh US supermarkets. (but I didn't look closely in the Asian stores for them either)

The pickle recipe linked above seems to imply you can sun dry them and keep them for a while.
posted by infini at 2:22 AM on July 18, 2011

You can occasionally find dried jujubes in Asian grocery stores in the US. They look a little like dates but shorter and plumper. I bet the flavor is completely different from the fresh fruits, though (like grapes vs raisins), so you may be disappointed. Here in San Francisco I sometimes see fresh fruits that look like the Wiki photo but I've never tried them - they might be msau. A large Asian market that carries dried jujubes might have the fresh ones in season.
posted by Quietgal at 7:22 AM on July 18, 2011

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