Fruits Of The Land!
Written by: The Bridge on Sunday, June 25th, 2006
This is an entry that a lot of you have been waiting for. I don’t really know where to start with this post, there are so many good fruits in this tropical part of God’s creation. Something that I find strange is, almost all the fruits around here are green when they’re ripe. Everything from oranges, grapefruits, mangoes, coconut, banana, plantain, pumpkin, etc. If it’s ready, it’s green, not like the different colours that we get back home.
Avocodes are grapefruit sized fruit, with a large nut in the middle. I’ve never had any before coming to Africa. They are soft and mushy and they don’t have a very strong taste, they’re definitely not sweet. We use them like butter on bread, otherwise, personally I don’t like them much. But with toast and a dash of salt, it passes for butter, and is a very healthy alternative. While we’re on the topic of breadspreads, let me introduce peanut butter. Talitha give me the idea of making peanut butter, so I decided to give it a try. Peanuts are readily available, you can buy them raw or roasted. They are cheaper when you buy them raw, so we roast them here in the house and shell them. After that, we grind them in the blender, add a small amount of peanut oil and a pinch of salt, and there, you have peanut butter! It’s that simple. It’s not as smooth as the stuff we’re used to. I’ve done some research on it and learned that when they process the peanut butter that you buy back home, they take the heart out of the peanut before grinding it, just like taking the germ out of wheat before grinding it into flour. I don’t know what for, maybe they can get a better price for it at the health food store or maybe it makes the final product more even, I’m sure they have their reasons. Either which way, this homemade peanut butter tastes great, and no I’m not saying it just because I made it! With a slice of toast, homemade peanut butter and sliced bananas on top, it makes for an excellent breakfast, dinner, supper or anything in between.
The oranges around here are not orange at all, they’re green. Doesn’t quite feel right eating a green orange, now does it, especially when they’re specifically called orange. They are quite good anyway, even though they’re not quite as sweet as the ones we’re used too. The fruit tree in this picture, has green fruit growing from it that looked like oranges, so I asked one of the men folk that was going by what it was? He said it was an orange and showed me which one was ripe. I took it, cut it open, and it sure didn’t look like an orange to me, after tasting it, I figured out that it was a grapefruit, not an orange. It was also as green as the oranges. That’s how it sometimes is when you ask them, they don’t know the English name for it, or don’t really know what you asked in the first place, or maybe they sometimes don’t have a difference; I don’t know.
Now for the more exotic fruits. This fruit you will have to identify for me, they call it shaua-shaua in their language. I’ve never seen it before. It has an incredible explosion of taste, somewhat like apples, grapefruit and who knows what else all mixed together. When its ripe, the fruit is kind of mushy, and at the same time stringy like a pineapple. It’s definitely one of the better tasting fruits. The seeds inside are long, smooth and black, Talitha wants to try and germinate a few, I’m not sure where we will plant them.
The banana is also readily available and makes for a good quick snack. Yes, they do grow upside down, as in, with the banana pointing towards the sky with a strange flower or whatever you want to call it growing down from the bunch. In this picture you can see the main steam bending under the weight of the bunch, as the fruit matures it gains weight until the bunch hangs down completely. Leanne, that one picture of the banana tree that you commented on, was a tree that fell over, so its growing at a strange angle. Actually, I don’t think that its a banana tree at all, judging from the size of the fruit, it’s probably a plantain. Plantain looks exactly like a banana only it’s bigger, and it also grows on a tree that looks like a banana tree. They fry the plantain and serve it with some kind of sauce, man, that’s good! Or they make thin slices the long way, fry it and add a bit of salt, it looks and tastes like our potato chips, only better. The other day I tasted them raw, I figured they might have a woody flavor to them, but they taste very similar to a banana. Talitha made some banana bread with plantain, boy was that good!!! When the bananas are ripe, they cut down the tree and a new one starts growing, within a year they have another ripe bunch. It also propagates with suckers growing away from the main stem, so you will often find a group of banana trees growing in one place.
This post is too long already, so what I’ll do is split it in half and post more on the subject at a later date. There are still too many fruits that I have to introduce. The following verse would be an appropriate way of ending this blog.
Nun, Herr was soll man mehr bedenken?
Der Wunder sind hier ja zu viel.
So viel, wie du, kann niemand schenken,
Und dein Erbarmen hat kein Ziel
Denn immer wird uns mehr beschert,
Als wir zusammen alle werth.