The Pili nut (Canarium ovatum), one of 600 species, is native to Polynesia, Philippines and subtropical regions from Australia to Asia, Malaysia and Indonesia, about 75 species are used for food.
Pili (pronounced pee-lee) fruit is technically spoken a drupe — not a nut, 4 to 7 cm long, 2.3 to 3.8 cm in diameter, and weighs 15.7 to 45.7 g. The skin is smooth, thin, shiny, and turns purplish black when the fruit ripens; the pulp is fibrous, fleshy, and greenish yellow in color, which adheres tightly to the kernel or seed.
Pili is a tropical tree preferring deep, fertile, well drained soil, warm temperatures, and well distributed rainfall. It cannot tolerate the slightest frost or low temperature. Refrigeration of seeds results in loss of viability after 5 days. There are high variations in kernel qualities.
Most pili kernels tend to stick to the shell when fresh, but come off easily after being dried to 3 to 5% moisture (30 °C for 27 to 28 h). Shelled nuts, with a moisture content of 2.5 to 4.6%, can be stored in the shade for one year without deterioration of quality .
The most important part from pili is the sweet kernel. When raw, it resembles the flavor of roasted pumpkin seed or a combination of walnut, brazilnut and almond. When roasted, it has a mild, nutty flavor and crispy texture. The delicious flavor is often rated as superior to almonds.
Nutritionally, the kernel is high in calcium, phosphorus, and potassium, and rich in fats and protein. It yields a light yellowish oil, mainly of glycerides of oleic (44.4 to 59.6%) and palmitic acids (32.6 to 38.2%).
Pili nuts have the highest oil content of any nut (well over 70%).
The delicately flavored oil is extracted when the nuts are fully mature and used for cooking in areas where coconuts are scarce. Although the oil is extracted when the nuts are fully mature, the nuts are at their best for eating raw at an earlier stage. If you wonder how to get the oil, please buy a jar of our Pili Nut Butter, the topping is pure Pili Oil and some of our customers thought that there is really Coconut Oil on top, as the texture and taste is very similar.
The pili kernel oil has almost the same fatty acids as that of olive oil, and at the same time, that of cocoa butter.
In terms of energy, 100 grams of the kernel provides 636 kilo calories, enough to sustain the daily energy requirement of an individual. It is rich in vegetable fat, protein and contains significant amounts of minerals such as magnesium, phosphorus and potassium.
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Uses of Pili
(Canarium ovatum Engl.)
–as ingredients for ice cream, salads, puddings, toppings for cakes, bread, pastries, confectioneries and other delicacies like marzipan, fruit-cereal bar, fruit and nut mix, chocolate -making; can be eaten raw or processed as roasted, fixated or sugar-coated and is served in the same way as cashew or almond, or peanuts.
-as oil (manufacture of salad dressings, cakes and food preparations, as well as soaps, pharmaceuticals and cosmetics);
-vegetable dishes, pickle, oil (for cooking and lighting), farm animal food
-as crafts, charcoal, firewood and combining medium for growing orchids and anthuriums; oil tests as combining material with compost and for dyes;
Trunks and branches
-trunk produces a resinous substance commercially known as “Manila elemi”, a valuable material in the preparation of varnishes and lacquers.
- A volatile oil extracted from the trunk is used for numerous purposes and can be a substitute for turpentine.
- the wood is charcterized by fine straited grains making it very ideal for the manufacture of high quality furniture, wood panels, carved doors and other wooden products.
-resin-rich wood makes an excellent firewood
-the tree sap is an abundant source of natural resins, essential oils, and possibly, insect repellant.
-as salads and relishes;
-Described as “majestic tree” makes it an ideal tree for lining avenues, border or lawn tree, developing parks, subdivisions and golf courses. It is an evergreen tree with evenly spreading leaves making it an excellent shade tree and windbreaker because it does not shed its leaves, shade for other crops such as abaca, coffee, cacao, bananas, papayas; agroforestry; its undegrowth is clean and shady year round
Nutritional Composition in 100g edible portion
Food Composition Table, FNRI-DOST, 1990
| Composition (Raw Pili)
|| Amount (g)
|| Amount (mg)
| Dietary Fiber
| Beta Carotene
|| Ascorbic Acid