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elcomputo

Apr 4, 2004, 5:22 PM

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Strange Fruit

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Does anyone know the name of that fruit (I assume that's what it is) that looks like a big green tomato on the outside? Inside, it's a dark, brown chocolate color and tastes a little bit like chocolate. It also has big, interesting seeds that would make nice bracelets or necklaces.

I have found the stuff does not taste enough like chocolate to make it that interesting eaten out of hand. But mash it up with a bit of sweetener and some white wine until it's a liquid, then put it over fruit and/or cake, and you've got a very tasty topping!

This is one of two fruits (I assume they're fruits) I have never seen in markets in the States. I assume this one doesn't ship very well because it gets mushy as it gets ripe. The other is maguey. I can't say I'm all that fond of the taste of maguey, which is similar to a cross between pumpkin and sweet potato.



TomG

Apr 4, 2004, 7:00 PM

Post #2 of 11 (2195 views)

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Re: [elcomputo] Strange Fruit

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The first fruit describes like it might be zapote. If so it eats well with a spoon ripe, and makes very tasty agua. But drink it soon, as it keeps getting thicker as it get older.


elcomputo

Apr 5, 2004, 11:01 PM

Post #3 of 11 (2174 views)

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Re: [TomG] Strange Fruit

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Tom,

I think you're right. I knew it started with a "z," but I couldn't find it in my Random House Latin American dictionary. And I still can't!

I'm not quite sure what an agua is, either. Is that the stuff I see guys dipping out of huge jars at the market? Is is just fruit blended up with water?

Now, are these things ripe when they're still green but soft? Or are you supposed to wait until they're positively mushy and brown on the outside? I've seen them that way in one of the fruiterias here, but that particular store seems to specialize in rotten fruit. I've seen expensive California peaches and plums there about two weeks past their prime and surrounded by fruit flies.

Which leads to another question. How come Mexican peaches are so tiny? And do they ever ripen? They seem to be all pit and not very sweet.


TomG

Apr 6, 2004, 12:40 AM

Post #4 of 11 (2171 views)

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Re: [elcomputo] Strange Fruit

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Geezer;

Agua(s) are just what you think they are: fruit, water and sugar. Better than pop any day. I am completely buffaloed why they are not a rage all around the world. Some are not really from fruit, but from grain (like rice), and the biggie is agua de jamaica (hibiscus flower tea really). Tamarindo! Um-um! You could, of course, cut the added sugar out as some do. Agua de jamaica without sugar is said by the common people to help one lose weight - it's a diuretic.

As for the ____ peaches not being up to snuff? I don’t want to touch that one.




esperanza

Apr 6, 2004, 6:59 AM

Post #5 of 11 (2166 views)

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Re: [elcomputo] Strange Fruit

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The fruit you mention that is similar in taste to a sweet potato or pumpkin is not a maguey. A maguey is a cactus.

The fruit you post about, which looks like a small fuzzy football, is a mamey.

And yes, the other fruit is a zapote. There are many varieties. The most common zapote is green on the outside, creamy white on the inside, and tastes like a cross between a peach, a strawberry, and a banana. In English, it's known as a custard apple. It grows quite well in California.

And speaking of peaches, the peaches grown in Chihuahua and Michoacán do tend to be smaller than the peaches bred for size in the USA, but I find them infinitely more flavorful. The small white peaches from Michoacán are especially delicious.

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jennifer rose

Apr 6, 2004, 7:31 PM

Post #6 of 11 (2149 views)

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Ask the Vendor

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Why not ask the vendor? I've found that vendors are almost always more than happy to identify what they're selling, give you recipe hints, and not infrequently a taste of the product.


elcomputo

Apr 7, 2004, 12:53 PM

Post #7 of 11 (2135 views)

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Re: [esperanza] Strange Fruit

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You're right. It's mamey.

As for the "custard apple," I'd never heard them called that in California. I had a friend who was growing them and called them cherimoyas. I assumed that was Spanish and meant they came from somewhere south of the border. But then I spotted them being sold in large bags (and at cheap prices) in Chinatown in L.A. So now I think they might have originated, like the Kiwi, in China. I don't recall what they were called in Chinese.

Based on your description of the peaches, I'm wondering just how much transport there is of fruits and vegetables within Mexico. I know bananas have to come from the south of the country, but the white Michoacan peaches you describe are, as far as I know, unknown in SMA. And I have yet to get a yellow peach here that wasn't tart.

The oddest thing I've seen in Mexico grows in a small section east and a little south of Tampico -- leechee nuts. They are sold all along the highway. I assumed when I came through there that the nuts were common throughout the country, but few Mexicans I have talked to since then have any familiarity with leechee nuts.

One other regional food that surprised me here were the pasties that were advertised around Pachuca when I came through there. There is also a shop in the Mexico City North bus station that sells them. Seems they were brought with them by the Welshmen who came to work in the mines around that town many years ago. They also brought with them the sport of European football, which had theretofore been unknown in Mexico.


jennifer rose

Apr 7, 2004, 1:07 PM

Post #8 of 11 (2133 views)

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Re: [elcomputo] Strange Fruit

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Lychee and rambutan, not native to Mexico, are being grown for national consumption and export around Veracruz and Uruapan.

Empanadas, the progeny of Welsh pasties, are sold in many, many more venues than the bus station you visited.


esperanza

Apr 7, 2004, 1:21 PM

Post #9 of 11 (2130 views)

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Re: [elcomputo] Strange Fruit

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The zapote and the cherimoya are two entirely different fruits. The cherimoya is generally (but not always) larger than the zapote. I've seen cherimoya as large as a year-old-baby's head and as small as a tennis ball. The skin of the cherimoya tends to be thicker than that of the zapote and is shaped almost in smooth scallops; the flesh has a different consistency and flavor, and the seeds are shiny black, as big around as a fingernail and thick. The cherimoya is as delicious as the zapote; and like the zapote, it has to be very soft before it's ready to eat.

Then there is the guanabana, a fruit similar in color, consistency, and size to the cherimoya. Its skin is also green, but has points poking out of it rather than scallop shapes overlapping. The flavor of the guanabana is slightly tarter than that of the cherimoya. It also has to be very soft to be eaten.

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elcomputo

Apr 7, 2004, 1:32 PM

Post #10 of 11 (2129 views)

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Re: [esperanza] Strange Fruit

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Well, do the "chocolate" zapote and the "vanilla" zapote look the same? -- green on the outside, kind of like a large, green tomato?

And do you have any idea why these fruit are so expensive (both in Mexico and the USA) and why there seems to be little or no export market for them?

I also wonder why I so often see Mexican kids eating out of those little bags of Bimbo junk foods and so seldom see them eating any of the fruit that is here in abundance. This is the same behavior I see in the States, and it really puzzles me, both there and here. I do sometimes see kids at the juice stands here, though -- something you DON'T see in the States (kids at juice stands or, for that matter, juice stands!).


nicind

Apr 16, 2004, 11:23 PM

Post #11 of 11 (2103 views)

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Re: [esperanza] Strange Fruit

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Hola, amigos,

I'm an almost-retired Spanish/ESL teacher, and look forward to our up-coming retirement in Mexico.

I have lived over 10 years in Mexico in Mexican homes (my husband's family), so I have some input that could serve here: maguey is a cactus, but it is baked and eaten as a fruit/sweet with that same flavor as tequila. How, you may ask, could a sweet taste like booze? Oh, I see someone in the back of the room raising his hand and jumping in his seat!

Yes, Juan, do you know the answer?

Si, maestra, my uncle once took me to Tequila and we toured the Cuervo tequila factory. There they bake the maguey "pina" [Hey, where's the tilde n on this system?], which is what they call the heart of the maguey after cutting off all the leaves. When it came out of the ovens, before crushing and squeezing it they let us taste it. Yummy!

So, maybe you were offered "maguey", which when cold looks like over-ripe fruit. Very much like sweet potato (camote). Taste it next time and think "Cuervo", limon y sal.

Camote y leche is a common supper treat in Meico for kids and adults alike! Wash the camote, scrub it!, prick it with a fork, coat in with a little butter , wash your hands, place it on a small plate and microwave and set it on high for 8 min., 2 extra min for each one you put in with it. Or buy the hiher calorie dulce de camote in the market, if you trust that the bees that have been trying to make off with it are clean. Did you know that camote, sweet potato is one of nature's most nutritious foods?

I just re-read this, and realized how teacherly I sound. Well, I guess you can take the teacher out of teaching, but........ Bear with me.

La Profe
 
 
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