Lucretius, De Rerum Natura
Roman Epicurean poet, philosopher, & scientist (96 BC - 55 BC)
I have never heard of any of these fruits. Some of them look a little too weird for eatingto me. But then, I think anything other than a macintosh is exotic. Some of them are really creepy looking and some of them are just strange. I don't think you would ever catch me eating any of them. But, in this apple picking season, I thought maybe you could use some alternative suggestions.
A native to Malaysia and Sumatra but cultivated throughout SE Asia. Vivid red fruit covered in hairy spikes which has a sweet flesh with a mild acid flavour, which is very refreshing. It is most convenient to eat the fruit fresh as it is a lot of work to open and remove the seed from a large number of fruit. If you are patient enough to do this, then a fine jam can be made by cooking equal weights of flesh and sugar together with sufficient lime juice (about 5%) or pectin to help the jam set.
Hot bottling the opened fruit in sugar syrup can allow you to enjoy the fruit out of season.
Buddha Hand Citron
"I saw a man holding up what looked like a piece of yellow coral about the size of a child's head. Its thick yellow arms reminded me of a Medusa's head -- I had to take a closer look.
Called a Buddha's Hand Citron, this odd looking fruit is actually one of the oldest members of the citrus family. Although it smells strongly of lemon, it has no juicy pulp hidden beneath its rind. Instead, the Buddha's Hand is grown commercially for its powerful zest. The aromatic rind is used to flavor lemon liqueurs and specialty vodkas."
a.k.a. Pitahaya, Strawberry Pear
Round, often red colored fruit with prominent scales. The thin rind encloses the large mass of sweetly flavored white or red pulp and small black seeds. Some varieties are pinkish or yellow.
The fruit is popular eaten chilled, out of hand. It is also used to flavor drinks and pastries. Unopened flowerbuds are cooked and eaten as vegetables.
Jackfruit is the largest tree-borne fruit in the world, reaching 80 pounds in weight and up to 36 inches long and 20 inches in diameter. The exterior of the compound fruit is green or yellow when ripe. The interior consists of large edible bulbs of yellow, banana-flavored flesh that encloses a smooth, oval, light-brown seed. The seed is 3/4 to 1-1/2 inches long and 1/2 to 3/4 inches thick and is white and crisp within. There may be 100 or up to 500 seeds in a single fruit, which are viable for no more than three or four days. When fully ripe, the unopened jackfruit emits a strong disagreeable odor, resembling that of decayed onions, while the pulp of the opened fruit smells of pineapple and banana.
There are two main varieties. In one, the fruits have small, fibrous, soft, mushy, but very sweet carpels with a texture somewhat akin to a raw oysters. The other variety is crisp and almost crunchy though not quite as sweet. This form is the more important commercially and is more palatable to western tastes.
Immature fruit is boiled, fried, or roasted. Chunks are cooked in lightly salted water until tender and then served. The only handicap is copious gummy latex which accumulates on utensils and hands unless they are first rubbed with cooking oil. The seeds can also be boiled or roasted and eaten similar to chestnuts. In Southeast Asia dried slices of unripe jackfruit are sold in the markets. The ripe bulbs, fermented and then distilled, produce a potent liquor.
Noni a.k.a. Indian Mulberry
The early Polynesians brought this large shrub (it can get to be a tree, too) with them. They used the fruit for medicine.
The young (unripe) fruit was pounded thoroughly with salt, and the mixture was put on deep cuts and on broken bones, especially if there was a compound fracture (where the broken bone comes through the skin). Sometimes, they squeezed the juice out of this mixture, boiled the juice, and applied that.
Several other unusual species of fruits have been recently discovered. I couldn't find out anything about them on-line. Can you name them???
I was in a very strange mood when I did this blog. Maybe it was the full moon. Sorry about that. Please don't hold it against me. But there are some really weird things growing on trees out there. Really weird!
Have a great Wednesday and maybe this weekend you can go out to the orchards and pick Buddha Hands.