In approximately four days we’re flying home to Oregon for a two week break filled with family, friends, Mexican food, microbrews, a functioning government, a separation of church and state, infrastructure, public transportation that works, recycling, libraries, clean parks, hummus, a 15 minute commute to anywhere… And a wedding!!!
WE ARE BEYOND EXCITED!
And naturally, like every time I prepare for a long vacation, I drain our food supply to nothing so we don’t waste it.
We are surviving on vegetarian stir-frys at this point, so I finally gave in and asked my pembantu to pick up some fruit to snack on between stir-frys for the next couple of days. I came home to a papaya and a guava. I’ll show you what to do with a papaya next time… But right now I’d like to talk about the guava.
Guavas aren’t the most convenient fruit to eat and usually are just found in juices or as a flavoring. But Ellie loves them raw, so I cut it up for her. Like a lot of fruit, the guava has inedible skin and seeds in the middle. So I start by cutting it in half, scoop out the guts, and then fillet the flesh from the rind.
That sounded gross. Sorry. Here’s the how to in pretty pictures:
We’ve talked about mangosteen, rambutan, and mangos before… Now let’s talk jackfruit!
Jackfruit is a very strange looking but tasty fruit. It seems to grow pretty wild in Indonesia (though I remember seeing them all over the place in Thailand too), making trees look like they have large, spiky, cancerous growths hanging from them.
But thankfully someone had the guts to open one of these and discover the delicious yellow pods inside. Don’t mistake these for durians, which are also spiky on the outside. The durian fruit is really stinky, banned in many public places, and tastes very distinct (Death and dirty socks? Yum!). Jackfruit on the other hand has an interesting flavor, familiar, but unique. Maybe a cross between a pineapple and mango?
I had been craving jackfruit for over a month and haven’t been able to find it in any stores. So yesterday at the traditional market I bought a quarter of one for a dollar. Today I cracked into it and started carving out the pods.
Tips: Use a sharp knife and pre-coat your fingers in oil to prevent the inner peals from sticking all over you. The stickiness doesn’t wash off with soap and water! (Picture me turning to my pembantu this afternoon, hands sticky to high hell shouting “help me!!!” And her laughing.) Once you remove and wash the pods, you can eat the fruit. Discard the pits as you go.
So, in the last month, we have discovered some new fruit flavors that we are integrating into our diet. One of these that I covet like youth and beauty is the Mango. I have been a mango observer most of my life. Every so often, I find that I’ll eat the mango and sticky rice for a Thai dessert. I didn’t know I was going to get Mango blindsided once here. Its been a bloodbath. <<I CAN HAVE THE MANGO!>>
Locally, there are 16 cultivars of the simple Mangga (as it is locally known in Indonesian), ranging from the Manis (super sweet) to the wonderful Ataulfo, the yellow “fiber free” (you have no idea how important this is until you have them a staple of your diet) and highly flavorful one, that. Mango season is three times a year and a month at a time, so when it comes on, you gotta get in on that. I can get them for about $.50 each, I can eat about two a day, but the most important thing is learning to cut them, else you are not fully enjoying the experience. But once in the know, everything changes.
Here’s your protip, given to me by a real professional: Look at it from the stem side. Imagine there is a seed in the middle there, and the shape of the fruit is oriented around it (of course). The seed is one little orb, a small disc of frustration. Place two cuts on the mangos’ skinnier sides to extract the most edible bits and place these off to the side. Secretly, in the dark recess of the kitchen, do a vampire routine and eat around the seed, so as to get as much of the tender flesh as you can to yourself, making as little noise as possible as you don’t need the attention to your vulgar act. Clean yourself up, you filthy animal…
Take the cut sides, cup the skin side in your hand and then put in some grids with a butter knife through the flesh but not through the skin, then just invert this bitch, literally turning it inside out and you have this professional looking execution like so:
I eat it right off the skin. – Seth