Wherein we are dropped on an alien planet made of fruit.
I thought, not very humbly, that I could write about fruit in Costa Rica is one post. Ha. How wrong I was. There are so many kinds of fruit here. Kinds of fruit one does not see in the frozen north, or even the semi tropical southern states. I decided to start small -with just what is in the backyard here where we are renting.
Right outside the window no less. Here I holding a biriba. This is a small one. I have seen some for sale that are twice as big. It falls on one of the pathways on the way to the swimming pool. Every couple of days another biriba lands right where I walk. If it hits me it would hurt – not as bad as one of coconuts that grows across the street. Biriba are a soft, squishy fruit. They look spikey like they would hurt to touch, but it’s all for show. They are softies.
When the fruit goes from green to black and green it is ready. You just cut it lengthwise and start scooping out the white flesh with a spoon. It has the taste an consistency of a fiberous lemon custard pie.
Each bite contains a few thick, slippery black seeds that you have to spit out. It is a very refreshing fruit. Every time I go out I check under the biriba tree for more fruit as they are a little expensive in the stores.
This is the granadilla. It is related to passion fruit. The outside has a thin shell that is some distance from the fruit inside.
There are little white tentacles that you can see in the lower end of the half sphere near my thumb.
The inside has three sections but it doesn’t matter because once you bite into one section the juice starts flowing and you basically suck the whole thing in your mouth seeds and all. It is very sweet, a little slimy, and the seeds add a pleasant crunch without taking anything from the flavor. I wiggles a little like jello when you open it and the three sections looked a little like mouth parts of the plant on “Invasion of the Body Snachers” when I first saw the inside. My first encounter was actually scary but these objections fade quickly with the taste. And I have already lied to you by implying they grow in our back yard. Biriba they can be found at the fruit stand about 200 yards away. I have not seen where they grow yet.
The fruit stand has many of the fruits and vegetables that grow in CR. The manager doesn’t speak any English except “thank you”. She sometimes pushes the fruit or vegetables with a short shelf life but she has learned we are very selective.
Big bottles of soft drinks are always advertised and you can often see two liter bottles sitting right next to the fruit. At any rate it is a good place to pick up some biribas.
Bananas of course are not unusual fruit. What is cool about this bunch is that it is at the foot of our parking lot. Unless the animals or people walking down the road take these, I plan to wait till I see a little yellow and harvest this bunch. I can’t possibly eat them all so I will give some away, freeze some, and add them to every smoothy I will make for the next month. It’s hard to tell from the photo but the bunch goes up and up and probably contains 50 bananas.
Plantains are, of course in the same family as bananas (the Musaceae family) and, like the bananas pictured above, look like they grow on trees. Surprise, not on trees. The banana/ plantain “tree” is actually a bunch of leaves growing closely together to resemble a trunk. In one article I read it was stated that the plant is actually more like an herb. Who knew? Above is my lunch of plantain (looks like a really old banana) sliced and fried in coconut oil. Next to the tortilla with melted cheese and some refried beans. You can cook plantains green, yellow or black. The blacker they are, the sweeter they are.
More on fruit later.