Monday, 22 April 2013

Sprigtime Affair, Fruits in Season & A Short Rant

Large Red Flower in Bloom atop plant.  

Orange flowers in bloom.

I am in love with Spring time. I'm not sure how long I've had this 'problem' but I've only just realized it. I love to see flowers blooming especially the yellow poui, trees bearing fruit, little birds flitting in and out of flower laden shrubs. It's just magical with the exception of the lizards that seem to be in season as well. The ackees continue to open, the mangoes are beginning to ripen, there are cherries on the tree; there is just an outpouring of fruits at this time. My market basket has been heavy with fruits for a few weeks now. Have a look at this list from the beginning of April :-

Julie Mango ( 3 )                                  
Nameless Mango ( 2 )
Black Mango ( 12 )

Naseberry ( 24 )

Papaya (paw paws) ( 9 lbs. )

Ripe Banana ( 12 small )

Pineapple ( 2 small )

Soursop ( 1 med. )

Sour Orange ( 24 )

Tamarind  ( 1 lb. )

Cashew Fruit  ( 9 )

Jelly Coconuts  ( 4 )

Tomato ( 3 lbs.)

There are some fruits that I bought recently that  didn't make it on this list, namely, otaheite apples, custard apples, miniature tangerines, sweet cup, star apples, sugar cane and june plums. I guess I don't need to tell you that I love fruits. What could be nicer than biting into a ripe julie mango (substitute your favourite here) and demolishing it, skin and all? Maybe two!  I love julie mangoes & other non-stringy mangoes but I eat & love most mangoes. I can never understand how someone cannot like fruits. There are so many to choose from; sweet ones, sour ones and in between ones. Some fruits come wrapped in their own easy to peel packaging, like bananas; you just peel and eat, so they are very portable. The banana is the most popular fruit in the world.  Then there are fruits where everything is eaten, even the seeds sometimes. Others you have to carefully peel with a knife or other tool. Some fruits are best had at home, because they can be quite messy, like a large juicy mango; but you could peel a mango and slice it up in a container to go. Some fruits make thir own cup or bowl, like a paw paw or star apple; just cut it in two, scoop out the seeds and eat out of hand with a spoon (a grapefruit spoon works great on firmer ones).
I continue to discover new fruits and fall in love over and over again. Make sure to introduce a variety of fruits to your young children as a better option than getting them hooked on junk food.

One of my new favourite fruits is the custard apple. I can't get enough of it. It has the smoothest, creamiest taste; I can imagine it as an ice cream but can never have enough to spare any to experiment with. It's simlpy divine eaten as is so why mess with nature. I can't believe that I was unaware of the existence of this heavenly fruit until a few years ago.  I think we need to plant custard apple trees along with other fruit and food trees that grow well in Jamaica and if we can do it organically that would be great.

When last did you plant a tree? Have you ever planted a tree? My young trees continue to flourish at this time. There are small green apples turning pink and red on my tree. I look at them everyday. It's like a miracle seeing the progression from blossom to fruit of the otaheite apple.  I continue to be amazed by the wonder of nature.  Plant some fruit trees so that you can have this miracle in your yard as well as enjoy the taste of ripe, freshly picked fruit, as I did with the first East Indian mangoes from the tree in my yard this year. I picked one and had it for breakfast recently. I would almost swear that it was the sweetest mango  ever, but the season has just started.

Short Rant

Enjoy the bounty of fresh fruit in season, but eat responsibly. My other caution would be -  try not to buy stolen fruit as the scourge of praedial larceny devastates our farmers. Homeowners with  fruit trees are not spared either as thieves will pick every fruit on a tree, ripe or green. Then they'll come back two days later. This has been my experience and that of my neighbours in the last few years with theives and the mango trees, especially the east indian. I don't buy east indian mangos lest it came from the tree in my yard. I blame the lovers of mangoes who will pay ridiculous prices for them on the street. If we were more responsible when purchasing fruit and weren't willing to pay as if they were green gold then maybe we could start to control and stamp out this spiralling wave of crime in our beloved country.  When all else fails, dance as suggested by this mural, photographed during Kingston on the Edge ( KOTE ) 2009 in the Heroes Circle area of Kingston.

Translation :- Definition of dance - A lizard jumped on me this morning or dance is what happens when a lizard jumps on one. Look out for KOTE 2013, 'where Kingston art is happening', this June.
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Healthy Green Tip !

Wash fruits and vegetables from the market or supermarket with vinegar and water or hydrogen peroxide and water. No need to buy commercial washes when you can make your own.