Wood Apple: A Fantastic Fruit with a Funky Smell

By Mark Wiens 21 Comments


Very few fruits are so bizarre and delicious as a Wood Apple.

I had never even heard of a woodapple, nor tasted one, until I traveled to Sri Lanka.

But as soon as I arrived in Colombo, they were everywhere – a fruit that seemed to be as common as oranges in another country.

On the outside they look kind of like moldy coconuts.

It was their weird outer appearance and their strange (some may think foul) smell that really aroused my culinary curiosity, and I was intrigued.

As a lover of all things, shapes, sizes and smells of food, it wasn’t long before I purchased a few woodapples out of pure curiosity and had my first bite of goodness…!

Watch this quick VIDEO about eating woodapples!

(Can you see the video alright? If not, you can click here to watch it on Youtube)

What does a Wood Apple Smell Like?

Woodapple fruit kind of smells like a combination of blue cheese and raisins… really!

Similar to the most amazing fruit in the world, a woodapple’s pungency can overtake an entire room or spread through an entire market. Though some may think the smell is unfavorable, to be honest I really don’t think the smell is bad – I like it!

The stronger the scent normally means that the fruit is ripe and ready to be opened and devoured.

Wood Apple (Limonia Fruit)

What does a Wood Apple Taste Like?

In Sri Lanka, many people eat woodapples blended up as juice or in a fruit shake. I drank my first delicious fruit shake at the fantastic Hotel Rolex restaurant serving northern Sri Lankan food in Jaffna.

Many add sugar to sweeten up their woodapple and make it taste a little less acidic.

My favorite method is to just grab a woodapple, crack open its hard outer shell and just start eating the meat with a spoon!

I’m going to be honest, as soon as you open it, the fruit does look a little like baby poop, but don’t let that fool you – it tastes really good!

It’s quite similar to sweet tamarind fruit, a smooth pudding like sugary and acidic substance. Image taking a tub of raisins and blending them up with water until they turn into a fruit jam like paste. Ferment the concoction for a few days and you’ve got a taste  that would probably resemble the fruit of a woodapple.

The crazy part in my opinion is the texture.

The raisin like cream is soft and jam like, but within the softness are hosts of other consistencies and textures that range from crunchy seeds to sticks and fruity bristles.

A spoonful of pure woodapple fruit is a great thing!

Woodapples in Sri Lanka
Woodapple Fruit

How to Cut Open a Wood Apple:

Just like opening a coconut, it can be a challenge to open a wood apple.

The prettiest way, is to hit it around the belly of the fruit with the back of a knife until it neatly splits open. You can watch the woodapple video (or watch it right above).

Alternatively, if you are somewhere and you don’t have a knife, just slam it on the floor or use a rock to smash it open.

So although the woodapple fruit is a little strange indeed and has a pretty funky smell, I think it tastes awesome and it’s healthy too!

If you ever get a chance to eat a woodapple, don’t miss out (just remember, a woodapple is quite a bowel loosener)!

Have you ever sampled or smelled a wood apple?