I love fruits and this summer, I have decided to try as many exotic ones as I can–depending I can find them. What I really want to try are mangosteens. I’m not joking when I say that people have waxed poetic about them to me and I find myself anxious to try one or a hundred.
I also want to see if I can get my hands on a custard apple. It may be impossible but I have had a hankering for it ever since I indulged in a good soak of nostalgia. I’m from Fiji, you see, and right in front of the porch of our house, there used to be a custard apple tree. I used to observe the tree fruit and then the fruit grow and ripen with anxious eyes. Of course I always had to share (sulk) with my brothers but I used to dream of times when I wouldn’t have to.
In Fiji we also had guavas, red and white fleshed ones, wild raspberries, sour starfruit, papaya, soursop, bananas, pineapple, bayr (Indian jujube? I don’t know the English name), jamun (no idea what that’s called in English), tangerines, lemon, limes, and of course, mangoes.
I love pineapple but you can’t really eat a lot of that before your lips and mouth start getting cut by the acidity. But mangoes though…
I grew up with mangoes informing a large part of my diet. Unripe mangoes were used to make pickles (fresh pickles vs. aged ones), dried gaddar (mangoes between ripe and unripe) mangoes made khatai that went into dahl (lentil soup, that’s a whole new post), ripe mangoes with chili and salt made wonderful snacks, the juice of ripe mangoes sucked through a little hole made at the tip, kuchla made from grated gaddar mango flesh with spices and chili added, guddamma where ripe mangoes are cooked with salt and chili. Mangoes are very important to my life, okay?
I once spent half an hour throwing stones at a ripe mango high up in the tree because I was determined to get it down and eat it.
And guess what? I did. It was the best damned mango I ever ate.
I also flashed my crush when I was 12 when I climbed a tree in my dress and he happened to come over to stand under the mango tree. He looked up and I died (though I didn’t let go of the mango, of course. Priorities, man.).
Anyway, now that I am older and more eccentric, I have found that mangoes at midnight taste the best.
Don’t ask me why. Just try it.