A Muse on Fruit

Alfred Russel Wallace, who nearly beat Darwin to the discovery of evolution, described it like this.  “It is like buttery custard, flavoured with almonds intermingled with wafts of flavour that call to mind cream cheese, onion sauce, ground cherries [sherry wine?] and other incongruities.  It is neither acid nor sweet nor juicy.  Yet one feels the want of none of these qualities for it is perfect as it is.  Eat it immediately.”

The durian is a large fruit, like a spiky rugby ball.  It is so smelly that it is banned from airline cabins and some hotels. But the Asians love them; they consider them an aphrodisiac.  There’s a Malay saying that when the durians are down the sarongs are up.

Every morning at Rainbow Lodge, we were served a plate of exotic fruits.  It was an education. 

The Soursop is related to the Durian, only smaller, not spiky, but with an irregular surface. It has a chewy, sweet white flesh with flat black seeds. 

The Custard Apple is like the Soursop.  It has overlapping greenish flesh and is very juicy, sweet yet slightly acid.

 And then there’s the Mangosteen.  These when they are ripe are small, dark purple, round fruits with a rosette of sepals on the top of them.  The flesh is juicy, white and sweet yet slightly acid.  The bark and the skin of the fruit can be used to treat diarrhoea.

But for flavour, I just love the Long yong or Durkin.  It tastes like a lychee, but is softer and sweeter and one the flesh is peeled off, it is in white segments like garlic.

The Pomelo is the largest grapefruit.  It can be used as a salad vegetable or fruit.

The Dragon’s Eye Fruit, is a true lychee but contains a much larger black seed  and has the smooth white surface and disconcerting consistency of an eyeball.

The Rambutan is a hairy lychee.  “Rambut” means “whiskery hairs”.

The Sapodilla is one that I really like.  It’s a brown fruit that tastes like toffee, like a pear flavoured with maple syrup. 

The Snake Fruit looks interesting.  It’s shaped a little bit like an inverted comma or the head of a cobra.  The brown spotted skin also resembles that of a snake. The flesh is milky and sour. 

Then of course there are the sweetest mangos and papayas, (though the Cambodians also like to eat them unripe in strips as a vegetable) and pineapples.  The seeds of the pineapple are arranged in a spiral.  Cut them out in a shallow wedge with a sharp knife for a perfect presentation.

And did you know that the cashew nut nestles into the base of the green cashew apple, which tastes sweet not unlike an apple.