It's summertime, and that means it's vacation time! Maybe you're lucky enough to jet set to some exotic spot, or maybe you're trying to take it easy in your town. Regardless, if you're looking to bring the tropics to your kitchen, these 10 recipes are sure to inspire the creative Caribbean chef in you.
Countrywide, Spring is high time for the likes of peas, asparagus, and artichokes, but in more equatorial climes, April, May, and June are peak season for mangoes, one of the world's most beloved tropical fruits, known for its sweet, fragrant flesh and succulent texture.
Mangoes are enjoyed both ripe and unripe. To select a fully ripe mango, look for a smooth, leatherlike skin, an intoxicating scent, and a meaty flesh that gives, but isn't mushy. To enjoy unripe or "green" mangoes, select firm fruits and store them in the refrigerator to use before they've ripened. Get inspired to use them in different ways when you read more.
While on the island of Maui, I took full advantage of the fact that papayas were local and in season. One morning, I enjoyed the melonlike fruit for breakfast in a straightforward tropical medley, with other South Pacific favorites like passionfruit and starfruit; now, I'm longing to dress it up slightly, perhaps with some cacao nibs and hazelnuts for crunch.
The fruit could've just as easily been shaved or shredded into a savory Southeast Asian salad. Much like mangoes, the papaya can be enjoyed unripe, and adds crunch and sweetness in a toss with fish sauce, dried shrimp, and garlic in the Thai salad known as som tam. Get the recipe for either when you read on.
It's like oranges with cinnamon for dipping: Reader Mee-shell uploaded this photo of mangoes with chili and lime to the Savory Sights group in the YumSugar Community. Do you have an image of something delicious that you recently made or enjoyed? Upload it!
I picked this snack up at a street fair recently but it's super easy to make at home. Toss sliced mango with lime juice, salt, and chili powder. Done! (Jicama and papaya work great too.)
Growing up in Hawaii, I was sort of spoiled. In my backyard we had papaya, avocado, coconut, and passion fruit trees. The best part? They were there when we moved in! And in a tropical climate like Hawaii, these trees need little in the way of cultivation — they just kind of hang out and take care of themselves.
Even though I've moved away from Hawaii, my favorite fruit is still passion fruit, except now it's more of a delicacy than a mainstay. If you've never experienced this sweet, fleshy fruit, now is the time to try it. It grows in abundance this time of year and can easily be found at most grocery stores. (I was able to pick one up from Safeway just the other day.) The purple fruit is antioxidant-rich and full of vitamin A, iron, and vitamin C.
Look for ones that are about the size of a lemon with slight indentations in the skin — this means they're ready to eat. I usually just slice one open and eat the pulp — seeds and all — with a spoon. The fruit has a really sweet, floral scent and a sweet-tart flavor. What will probably be unusual to most people is the texture. On top of being really juicy, the pulp has an almost jelly-like texture and consistency.
If you're not into the texture, passion fruit is great for juicing or as an ingredient in a cocktail, dessert, salad dressing, or a sauce. I also love making jam out of it too. Have any of you tried passion fruit?
Source: Flickr User geishaboy500
I'm taking a Chinese class right now, and one of the phrases that came up in a book was "xiangjiao pingguo" (translation: banana apple). Whenever anyone says the phrase - which has become the class's go-to noun - we all wonder, what on earth is a banana apple? Well, today we found out. One of the folks in my class stumbled across Manzano Bananas and since manzano means apple tree in Spanish, we knew we'd found our fruit.
After a bit of research I discovered that these bananas are often known as "apple bananas" and are grown in South America, Mexico, The Caribbean, Asia and Africa. So what makes an apple banana an apple banana? Well first of all it's smaller than normal bananas and drier too. The fruit is sweeter and the odor and flavor have a scent of apple and a hint of strawberry. I'm not sure I would have made the apple connection on my own, but it was definitely a tasty treat. If you have the opportunity to try one, I highly recommend it.
Have you ever had an apple banana? If so, what did you think of it?