New Fruits

Tamarillos or, Tree Tomatoes were one of the first new fruits we tried here. Our landlords told us about them and gave us one to try, saying they were best stewed, and paired with yogurt as a breakfast dish. And we quite agree!

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When we were at the municipal market a couple weeks ago, one vender gave us some naranjillas to try. We ate the green flesh right there in the market, but he said the best way to eat it is to juice the entire fruit in a blender with a bit of sugar perhaps.

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So we got all set to do as he instructed, but just as Lynette was about to push the “go” button on the blender, we remembered that the electricity was out. *duh* So, we stuck the fruit as you see it below, in the fridge and never returned to do anything with it. Oops.

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We did discover though, after some research, that we actually saw a couple of naranjilla plants growing in the wild on our first hiking trip to Alto Quiel! We snapped a few pictures, not knowing at the time what exactly we were viewing. The fruit wasn’t ripe yet, but I’m glad we were able to put all the pieces together and discover a new plant and fruit.

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We were in search of bananas at the market recently too, and suddenly, all the good bananas were gone. The only ones left were rather black, sad looking specimens with gnats gathering. So we inquired about some at one booth and they held up a huge bunch of these short, stubby looking bananas. I knew they weren’t a “regular” banana, but hey, I can try something new! Turns out we bought manzanos, for 5 cents each. :)

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That link above says they have a strawberry-apple taste. I haven’t tasted that, but compared to many, my taste buds are just not as competent at deciphering certain flavors. However, Natasha and I do think they’re a nice snack on a sunny afternoon.

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They are rather golden inside, more like the color of a ripe plantain, versus a typical banana.

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On a side note since we’re talking about bananas, when we return to the States, I don’t think I’ll be one of those shoppers who disregards the slightly overripe and spotted bananas in the supermarkets anymore. It’s rare to find “perfect” yellow bananas here, so usually the ones we buy are rather spotted compared to what we are accustomed to in the States. If they are rather nice, they end up bruised by the time we tote them home. And you know what? It’s okay! They taste just as good!

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Just the other day at the market, the same vender that we got green coconuts from, had a pile of Guamas for sale. I was a little lost without Lynette’s Spanish speaking abilities, but with hand motions, a free sample and some “writing on the wall”, I vaguely figured out how it was spelled, (at least, enough to google it upon arriving home,) and decided to get a couple. I’m not sure you can tell in this picture, but these are huge pods. Over a foot long!

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You break it in half and split it lengthwise to reveal white, cottony covered seeds. The white furry stuff is what you eat, discarding the hard black seed inside. One blog said it’s like eating a wet cotton ball, and I agree wholeheartedly! It is sweet, but like another blog stated, “It won’t knock your socks off”. :) Anyway, you just never know what you might come home with when shopping in Panama!

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