Wednesday, August 26, 2015

Mary what?

If someone were to ask me to tell a secret, something that not many people know about me...I'd have to say "I don't like fruit". That, of course was until I moved to Ecuador. Now I grew up in Southern California, land of the citrus fruit, not far from the agriculture belt of mid state (where they grow everything) and not to mention the pacific Northwest and apple country, but over the years I became a fruit snob.

Apples were usually too pithy for me so I stopped buying them, bananas had to be just the right shade of green, no brown spots or they'd be too sweet, and I'd deem them garbage. Realized I didn't like tartness, so that took out oranges, nectarines, strawberries, grapefruit, and pineapple. I have also over my 40plus years come to the conclusion I do NOT LIKE MELON. (Not watermelon, not cantaloupe, not honeydew, none of them) 

But fruit here, as almost everything, is different... the oranges are really only good for juice (they do not section for eating) and that's ok, because I can add just a smidge of sugar and it's yummy. Pineapple are super, not sour or hyper yellow as in the states, and of course don't come already diced in a can. Bananas have been tricky, up in Quito there is a variety of small very florally bananas, yummy, but not for everyday. I have found bananas like what I'm used to, but they are still considered edible even with some brown spots, who knew? (Plantains are most popular, they really don't ever ripen, and are used mostly in cooking.) But the star, the really crazy one we've never had anything like in this world...maracuya.

It's actually the fruit from the Passion flower vine, and native to South America. It is tart overload! If I had to describe the taste I'd say it's a mix of papaya,mango and grapefruit, very tropical and that's why I like it. I used to buy the frozen pulp concentrate and add just a squirt to my smoothies, but since I'm not going to "the big city" I've started buying the real fruit. Here's what needs to be done to it, and you'll know why I bought the frozen...

Since I was unaware how to pick "a good one", I just told Jenny at the tienda what I wanted and let her pick them. The first time she handed me the most shriveled looking ones she had, and they were great. These were not as shriveled, but still pretty ugly.

It's really not a fruit that you can just eat, maybe a little like pomegranate, where you suck the pulp off the seeds. But for juice, 

You scoop all the seeds out, add a little water and pulse a couple times in the blender.

Then you strain, I put these seeds thru the blender twice, as there was still pulp stuck on them after the first go round.

Voila! I put the fresh goodness in this little squirt bottle, store it in the fridge on the door, and use within the week or so. A little goes a long way, and sometimes I used to need to add a smidge of sugar. I've started using strawberry yogurt and the sweetness in that means I don't need to add any extra. I freeze my pineapple chunks and banana, so I don't have to use ice. And there you have it, from a fruit hater, to a daily fruit smoothie drinker, all it took was moving to another country!

So, stay tuned, you never know what I'll experience next...the adventure continues!

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