Saturday, December 1, 2007

New Fruit (#8)

I seem to have run out of small fruits that are in-season, although the produce book at SuperMaxi says that many more exist. So I'm forced to move on to the giant fruits, which have their own shelves on the edge of the produce section. I'd hoped to try some of these while Kerri was here, so she could help me eat these monsters, but we were mostly off traveling and didn't get around to it.

(photo by Eric in SF)

I picked the smallest BABACO on the shelf, whiched weighed in at almost exactly a kilo--more than two pounds. It's mottled green and yellow, torepedo-like, and shaped like a star in cross-section. As a sterile natural hybrid of two papaya relatives, it has no seeds, but the seed cavity is filled with the fluffy white fibers that would support seeds if it had them. The peel is edible, but a little tough; however, the star shape makes a veggie peeler unhelpful. The flesh is soft like a juicy pear, except that it resists being scooped with a spoon and is more slippery in the mouth. Its large size and the pale yellow color of the inside made it difficult to recognize that it tastes a bit like a blackberry. Actually, it's quite a lot like a mulberry, if you've ever eaten those off a tree, but more flavorful. The blend of sweet and sour is perhaps perfectly balanced. I wonder if it would survive baking into a pie.

(photo by Philip Bouchard)

The GUANÁBANA (or "soursop") looks a lot like its cousin, the chirimoya, except spiny, and the size of an american football. (Again, I picked the smallest one I could find.) Unfortunately, the seeds aren't nearly so easily dealt with, each encased in a little sack-like membrane. I took a couple bites, then decided it would be easier to eat it as it's always eaten here--as juice. Unfortunately, I couldn't find a complete blender in the shared kitchen, so I had to resort to mushing it through a colander with fork and spoon, which took about half an hour and left my hands sore. Even mushed like this, it's still too stringy to drink, so I have a couple cups of spoonable stringy slime.

But oh what stringy slime it is! It took a minute to recoginze, but it tastes almost exactly like the filling of a rhubarb pie, which is perhaps my favorite kind of pie. It's not like just rhubarb, but the baked filling, already sweetened, smooth and buttery. Except, it hasn't been cooked, so it still tastes like fresh fruit. Unreal. Could there possibly be a fruit that tastes like pecan pie as well?

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