The kernels of the rubber seeds can be eaten especially after they have been soaked for about 24 hours according to a scientific research conducted in Java way back in 1987.
In fact the Indonesians have been eating preserved rubber seed kernels for ages.
In Sarawak the seeds are preserved by soaking in salt water over night. The “kesam” kernels can be stir fried with Ikan Bilis and make quite a good side dish for a hot evening meal with rice and other main dishes.
Rubber seed kernels taste just like any kernel. They are almost almond like actually. But almond is crunchy and has a good after taste. May be some people will say that the rubber kernels are like chestnuts or even kepayang (a favourite preserved seed in Sarawak). A friend has said that they actually taste like kepayang, a common long house kernel which is called keruak in Indonesia.
According to a Bernama report “rubber seed rum” or preserved rubber seed is available as a condiment in several restaurants in Jerantut Pahang. It seems that the people of Jerantut have had this recipe for generations! It is served with curries during fasting month in fact.
Not long ago my Foochow friend William Ting went to Rh Rendang in Ulu Balingian with a team of 20 for a short mission trip. They were served salted (kesam) rubber seed kernels with small fried fish. William said, “They were very tasty indeed!”
But more importantly rubber seed kernels have been roasted and used as fish bait, placed in the locally made, rattan fish traps called bubu. My late father used them a lot and we caught many ikan keli and ikan haruan in the streams in the rubber garden behind our Sibu house in Kampong Nyabor more than 50 years ago.
By Changyi, Grace Methodist Church, Miri