White Sapote

September 8, 2007

White Sapote

While shopping yesterday I came across a plum-sized green fruit called a sapote. I knew of a few different kinds of this fruit — mamey sapote, black sapote, and white sapote (none of which, it turns out, are even related) but the sticker on the fruit just said sapote so I was left to guess what kind it was. Actually, that wasn’t so hard — mamey sapote are biggish and brown , with orange flesh. Apparently they taste like “pumpkin, a combination of pumpkin, chocolate and almond, or a mixture of sweet potato, avocado, and honey.” If this is true, then they are certainly the most delicious of sapote. Black sapote are related to persimmons (a favorite of mine) and apparently taste like chocolate pudding! This little green fruit I bought must be white sapote, then.

The reason for all these unrelated sapote? It comes from a generic Aztec word for soft, sweet fruit.

The white sapote is easy to describe. The texture of its white flesh is almost exactly like that of an avocado, and its flavor is a dead ringer for that of a bosc pear (with a hint of cherimoya). It’s like eating a smooth, creamy pear. The skin is mild, slightly tart but not very flavorful, and doesn’t go with the flesh very well.

Delicious, but unique only in the flavor/texture combo. The fruit has one large seed in the middle and 3-4 small, thin, unformed seeds scattered about that I had to spit out.

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Gooseberries!

August 19, 2007

Gooseberries

An excellent find at the local farmer’s market a few weeks back. Gooseberries are very similar in flavor to very ripe kiwifruit, and their small size and with a tastier skin makes them a lot more fun to eat. Apart from the kiwi flavor (incidentally, kiwifruit used to be called chinese gooseberry) there’s a slight “planty” taste that I find really pleasant. There’s a nice textural juxtaposition going on too, as the berries are like little water balloons — the insides are very soft but if the skin is unbroken the berries are firm like a grape. Fun to bite into.

Also, they’re beautiful — I love the translucent skin.

Sadly, in the weeks since then I have not come across any more, but if I do I will surely buy some more.

stoned fruits

July 3, 2007

black velvet apricot and mango nectarine

Yesterday I spotted a couple of stone fruits I hadn’t seen before, vying for space among the now commonplace pluots, plumcots, dinosaurs eggs, etc. The most enticing was the black velvet apricot , a smallish, black fruit that would be mistaken for an overripe (squishy) plum if it weren’t for the slight apricot-like fuzz on the skin. The sticker on it proclaims, oddly, “no sugar!” The flesh was practically liquid and the taste was a super sweet, highly concentrated plum flavor. The skin was much sweeter than plum skin, and was the more apricot-esque in taste and texture. Nevertheless, I kept thinking of it as a black velvet plum. Delicious, but perhaps not as complex (and certainly not as satisfying) as a really good black plum.

The second fruit I picked up was a so-called mango nectarine. I can only guess the mango part was a reference to the color of both the skin and the flesh, which are a light orange reminiscent of mango flesh. The taste was pretty standard nectarine, with a bitterness very characteristic of that fruit. I didn’t enjoy it very much, but I think it my have been slightly underripe.

pineapple + guava = ???

April 28, 2007

Feijoas

It’s tricky describing the taste of an unusual fruit to someone who rarely steps out of their comfort zone, and, understandably, a handy way to get an idea across is through comparison to other fruit. Anything you might read about a feijoa will mention that it’s also known as a pineapple guava, but since rather a lot of things get compared to pineapple, some accurately (monstera) and some not (er, pineapple guava), so that description doesn’t mean a lot. It is definitely guava-like, though. It’s better than a guava! (Perhaps I just have yet to have a really good guava…)

I found feijoas in two local Wegman’s. One store was selling small ones by the pound, the other was selling large avocado-sized ones individually. I bought some of each to compare (though I have not tried the big one yet). Of the three smaller ones, the flavor varied considerably between them. The first was very fragrant when it was cut. The scent immediately reminded me of cherry Lifesavers. The cherry flavor was the first thing I tasted, but it quickly dissipated and was replaced by a slightly tart, fruity taste, delicious but mild. The texture, flavour, and tiny, hard (but edible) seeds were very reminiscent of guavas.

Perhaps the best part of the fruit is the skin, something I discovered by accident. It’s slightly bitter, but in small doses it tastes like oregano and pine (!!) and goes very well with the rest of the fruit.

Of the ones I ate, two had the cherry scent/flavor, and one was a bit more “vegetable-y,” but still tasty. I figured perhaps it was under-ripe, so I’m letting my big one ripen for a while before I try it — more on that one later!

Feijoas

The durian pt. 1 (an ongoing odyssey)

April 23, 2007

Weird.

(thanks to wikipedia for this photo)

This is the first in a series of posts documenting my attempts to wrap my head (and mouth) around the legendary durian. They will be building up to my next purchase of the fruit, now that I’ve found a local market that sells them.

My first durian experience was over a year ago in Toronto. The large piles of frost-covered durians along the sidewalks of Chinatown were my first time even seeing the fruit in person. I was aware of their famous scent, and, even though I had never smelled one before, it was instantly recognizable as soon as it took a hold of my nose. I managed to find a relatively cheap vendor and, with two of my friends, purchased it. We put it in the trunk of our car and attended a concert.

Many hours later, when we got back in the car, the durian’s odor had permeated every molecule of the interior, and grown in intensity. Now, I actually wouldn’t call the smell unpleasant. It was fruity, but not sweet. Thin and sharp, it gently, but firmly, overpowered anything else you might otherwise be likely to smell. I’m not sure about the others I was with, but the smell actually made me more eager to try it. We took it home.

Durians are heavy and covered with sharp spikes. It actually hurts to hold one in your bare hands. Thus, we expected a bit of a struggle to actually open it, but, quite contrary to its foreboding exterior, it actually split open into five or so segments practically on its own accord. No knife required!

Here’s the bit that is a blur. Investigating the pale yellow, squishy, gooey flesh and large red seeds. Pondering the next move. Taking a bite…

I remember saying that it was like eating creamy garlic, but that it wasn’t bad. However, taking more bites proved more and more difficult until I finally decided it was a lost cause. My friends fared worse than I, and one refused to try it after hearing our descriptions. We tossed the leftovers and I was, temporarily, of the opinion that my days of durian were over. How wrong I was…

Stay tuned for part 2, eventually!

Kumquats = Love

April 17, 2007

Kumquat, the Golden Orange

Above: A young kumquat warrior prepares to fight in the name of deliciousness.

Sitting in front of me is a rapidly dwindling package of one of my favorite fruits. I often spend many happy minutes sorting through baskets brimming with kumquats in the grocery store, and though they are not at all uncommon, I often am asked about them by someone mildly curious about this fruit that is once familiar and a bit strange.

The most common question is, “do you eat the skin?” To which I would reply, “It’s the best part!” Strictly speaking, the best part is the superb contrast between the sweet, zesty rind and the tart, flavorful flesh. Either are enjoyable on their own, but to consume them together is to know the true essence of a kumquat, or the “grape of the citrus kingdom” as they are not known. Which reminds me, I learned that they’re not quite citrus, belonging to a subgenus of citrus called fortunella.They can be hybridized with citrus fruits producing things such as limequats, orangequats, and the mysterious calamondin. I’ve never seen any kumquat hybrids for sale but I aim to seek some out in the future. Anyone have any _____quat stories or info?

Greetings and Volcano Oranges

April 11, 2007

Hi. This is a blog about fruit, written by me and my girlfriend. We started it a long time ago, but it never really took off. This is an attempt to revive it. I’m an amateur fruit enthusiast, but I’d like to eventually turn my love of fruit into some sort of career. If you have any input about the content of this blog, please let us know!

I’ve been on a citrus kick lately, so I’d like to write about a couple of recent acquisitions. Please excuse the lack of photos (I will start including them regularly once things get rolling — this is a post from memory). I recently came across a bag of “volcano oranges” in the local Wegman’s, which are so-called because they are grown in volcanic soil in Sicily. They are a type of blood orange, which are favorites of mine due to their deep, complex flavor and attractive colors. My best guess is that these oranges were of the Tarocco variety (there are three types of blood orange, two from Italy and one from Spain).

The first thing I noticed while inspecting various bags of volcano oranges was that all the oranges seemed a bit too soft — I tend to gravitate toward firmer citrus, and if these were a more common variety of orange, I probably would have passed on them. However, my interest was piqued and I couldn’t resist picking up a bag.

Outwardly resembling “normal” oranges, these volcano oranges had multi-colored flesh, usually half orange and half red (another variety I’ve had, Moro, are uniformly red, sometimes even crimson or practically black) . The red parts were sweeter and more flavorful, and very, very delicious. The softness I had detected before from the outside was one of the orange’s greatest assets: their soft, delicate flesh really made them some of the easiest and most enjoyable citrus fruit to eat. The flavor was luxuriant and complex, with just the right amount of gentle tartness, mellow sweetness, and vivid citrus-ocity.

At this point, I must admit that, though I LOVE a good orange, I rarely buy them myself. It’s a lame excuse, but they’re too common to excite me, usually. Not only that, but I find their quality to be a bit inconsistent, at least here in the States (European fruit seems to be of a generally higher quality). These volcano oranges, however, are the most delicious and high quality orange I’ve ever tried; I recommend them whole-heartedly.