Fruits Of The Land!

Written by: The Bridge on Sunday, June 25th, 2006

This is an entry that a lot of you have been waiting for. I don’t really know where to start with this post, there are so many good fruits in this tropical part of God’s creation. Something that I find strange is, almost all the fruits around here are green when they’re ripe. Everything from oranges, grapefruits, mangoes, coconut, banana, plantain, pumpkin, etc. If it’s ready, it’s green, not like the different colours that we get back home.

Avocodes are grapefruit sized fruit, with a large nut in the middle. I’ve never had any  before coming to Africa. They are soft and mushy and they don’t have a very strong taste, they’re definitely not sweet. We use them like butter on bread, otherwise, personally I don’t like them much. But with toast and a dash of salt, it passes for butter, and is a very healthy alternative. While we’re on the topic of breadspreads, let me introduce peanut butter. Talitha give me the idea of making peanut butter, so I decided to give it a try. Peanuts are readily available, you can buy them raw or roasted. They are cheaper when you buy them raw, so we roast them here in the house and shell them. After that, we grind them in the blender, add a small amount of peanut oil and a pinch of salt, and there, you have peanut butter! It’s that simple. It’s not as smooth as the stuff we’re used to. I’ve done some research on it and learned that when they process the peanut butter that you buy back home, they take the heart out of the peanut before grinding it, just like taking the germ out of wheat before grinding it into flour. I don’t know what for, maybe they can get a better price for it at the health food store or maybe it makes the final product more even, I’m sure they have their reasons. Either which way, this homemade peanut butter tastes great, and no I’m not saying it just because I made it! With a slice of toast, homemade peanut butter and sliced bananas on top, it makes for an excellent breakfast, dinner, supper or anything in between.

The oranges around here are not orange at all, they’re green. Doesn’t quite feel right eating a green orange, now does it, especially when they’re specifically called orange. They are quite good anyway, even though they’re not quite as sweet as the ones we’re used too. The fruit tree in this picture, has green fruit growing from it that looked like oranges, so I asked one of the men folk that was going by what it was? He said it was an orange and showed me which one was ripe. I took it, cut it open, and it sure didn’t look like an orange to me, after tasting it, I figured out that it was a grapefruit, not an orange. It was also as green as the oranges. That’s how it sometimes is when you ask them, they don’t know the English name for it, or don’t really know what you asked in the first place, or maybe they sometimes don’t have a difference; I don’t know.

Now for the more exotic fruits. This fruit you will have to identify for me, they call it shaua-shaua in their language. I’ve never seen it before. It has an incredible explosion of taste, somewhat like apples, grapefruit and who knows what else all mixed together. When its ripe, the fruit is kind of mushy, and at the same time stringy like a pineapple. It’s definitely one of the better tasting fruits. The seeds inside are long, smooth and black, Talitha wants to try and germinate a few, I’m not sure where we will plant them.

The banana is also readily available and makes for a good quick snack. Yes, they do grow upside down, as in, with the banana pointing towards the sky with a strange flower or whatever you want to call it growing down from the bunch. In this picture you can see the main steam bending under the weight of the bunch, as the fruit matures it gains weight until the bunch hangs down completely. Leanne, that one picture of the banana tree that you commented on, was a tree that fell over, so its growing at a strange angle. Actually, I don’t think that its a banana tree at all, judging from the size of the fruit, it’s probably a plantain. Plantain looks exactly like a banana only it’s bigger, and it also grows on a tree that looks like a banana tree. They fry the plantain and serve it with some kind of sauce, man, that’s good! Or they make thin slices the long way, fry it and add a bit of salt, it looks and tastes like our potato chips, only better. The other day I tasted them raw, I figured they might have a woody flavor to them, but they taste very similar to a banana. Talitha made some banana bread with plantain, boy was that good!!! When the bananas are ripe, they cut down the tree and a new one starts growing, within a year they have another ripe bunch. It also propagates with suckers growing away from the main stem, so you will often find a group of banana trees growing in one place.

This post is too long already, so what I’ll do is split it in half and post more on the subject at a later date. There are still too many fruits that I have to introduce. The following verse would be an appropriate way of ending this blog.

Nun, Herr was soll man mehr bedenken?

Der Wunder sind hier ja zu viel.

So viel, wie du, kann niemand schenken,

Und dein Erbarmen hat kein Ziel

Denn immer wird uns mehr beschert,

Als wir zusammen alle werth.

Showing 12 comments

Ian/Crystal said:
On: 25th Jun, 2006 at 18:17

That’s it, Lance, I’m coming over in the next DHL (LOL)! You really are making us all jealous! But, I’m sure that you deserve the fruit more then we. Around here, we have more then enough food. Anyway, wishing you all God’s blessing!

Irvin Kleinsasser said:
On: 26th Jun, 2006 at 09:58

Hi Lance and all in Palm Grove.
Just a word of advice on the Peanut butter, somewhere in the kitchen there used to be a small hand grinder with a set of fine blades
(Its one of those small meat grinders)
and we made a lot of peanut butter with that you set the clearence very small
and “UUUUPS Peanut Butter”. When you grind them down to a fine texture you get all the oil out and should not need to add any other thinners.Enjoy
Now all you need is a jar of honey.
God bless. Irvin/Crystal Spring

Anonymous said:
On: 26th Jun, 2006 at 10:54

hmm, looks like the signs of paradise are everywhere…keep on digging for it in the hearts of people there as well. Moh kohn kolla glustl’n 🙂

Anonymous said:
On: 26th Jun, 2006 at 15:07

We appreciate your adventurous spirit! Keep on doing a great job at keeping us imformed! To bad there aren’t more young people around with your adventerous spirit, faith and love. I am sure it would be nice for you to have company and some more help doing all that work, especially after Eddie Vetter leaves! Looking forward to the rest of this interesting and “yummy” blog!

C. S. said:
On: 26th Jun, 2006 at 15:27

The large green fruit with the little points all over it is known as Soursop. It can weigh as much as 6 L.B. and is native to tropical America, where its mostly used to make fruit juice and added to flavor ice cream and sherbets.
I wonder if you could use it to make Jam ? That would be good over your homemade peanut butter!

Lorene/Silver said:
On: 26th Jun, 2006 at 15:33

You seem to be have some pretty inticing taste bud experiences! Much deserved and needed, I’d say!
So, have you been crunching away on those crickets that Clara Basel has been telling us about? That could be an interesting experience to write home about!
God bless and thanks for sharing the fruit as best you can!

leanne said:
On: 28th Jun, 2006 at 18:06

Hi Lance! Wow!! You’ll have the people reading your blogs running for the pantry! Do see if you can grow those Shaua-shaua seeds, Talitha, that would be worth it. Or are there lots of those trees around in Palmgrove? Lance, you forgot to say how plentiful this fruit is, can you eat whatever you want, when you want it? Do you have to buy it? What does Palmgrove grow in their garden?
You made us ‘gluste,’ now it’s your turn. We had strawberries yesterday and today! Too bad they are only a few days a year. Pretty soon we get to eat raspberries and peas…!
The weather is hot lately, so we think of you guys when we have to hoe in the garden! Not that we don’t otherwise, :P. The winter wheat is turning yellow, we’ll be able to combine it before long. The crops are looking very good, we missed the hail damage that occured in areas around us. This friday is the picnic, we’ll have to email some pictures afterwards!
K, i’m off to look for some peanut butter, you make it sound so good!

(crickets? those don’t fall into the fruit category, do they?? You’l have to do a blog on other foods, vegetables, “bugs,” etc…:D )

Lorraine/GreenAcres said:
On: 28th Jun, 2006 at 22:52

Hi Lance, thanks for sharing your enthusiasm in this blog!! sounds like paradise to me, with all those unique fruits! reading this will make me think of you all whenever i enjoy ‘our’ fruits. we all look forward to every entry you post, und moechte Gott neben euch allezeit sein, euch zu leiten in allen wegen!!

MAB said:
On: 29th Jun, 2006 at 10:36

hi lance
when your looking for oranges in the market ask for tangerines they are incredibly sweet and juicy,also i’m still wondering what a certain fruit is called that resembles a orange only half the size,its full of seeds and tastes like a sweet grapefruit the seeds explode with a sweet and sour flavor when you bite them all they could tell me was that it makes energy,.no name!

Lance said:
On: 30th Jun, 2006 at 11:59

Oh, oh you have so many questions I don’t know where to start with them all. I have a few more blogs ready but it looks like we are still haveing problems with the server so you’ll have to be patiente for a bit. Irvin I’m trying to find one of those hand grinders, we have many piece but no complete unit just yet. Plus the clearnaces that we, I think, are too big, we’ll see. We don’t have all that many fruit trees in PalmGrove because the kids like climbing over and on any type of tree. You know how kids are, they pick the fruit before anybody knows it’s ready. We get a little fruit around here but most of it we have to buy, it’s quit plentyfull. Don’t ask me about what kind of season these fruits have because I havn’t figure that part out yet.

Anonymous said:
On: 1st Jul, 2006 at 17:44

Dear Anonymous #11,
Ahem; please attempt to speak for yourself only.

I usually don’t ask questions to fill the void but out of curiousity. When I do ask a question, I expect them to be answered.

However, it is understandable that some questions will be missed occasionally, due to the lack of internet connectivity and other limiting factors in Palmgrove.

Thanks for the effort, people.

J.A. said:
On: 28th Jul, 2006 at 00:19

I stumbled, by chance, onto your blog and am now an avid reader from Michigan. It is wonderful what you are all doing.

I would like to suggest a few ways to make your avocado more palatable. I am half filipino and we put sugar and cream into the mashed avocado and make a very good shake, or it can be frozen and made into a popsicle.

I spent last year in Manila and they boiled the sweet plantains for breakfast. Once cooled, they were delicious and is very easy to digest in such a hot climate.

God Bless you all.