If all good things must come to an end, then it had to happen sooner or later. After 7 years and nearly 400 tips, DIY projects, yarns, and wordy expressions of opinion, we have decided to end our Monday posts and shut down the website. We will still be sharing tips and great information on our facebook page, and pictures of both the practical and eye candy variety on Instagram. So as we and technology move along, please move with us and like and follow us at either or both of those locations. And as always, feel free to swing by and say hi when you share an anchorage with Eurisko. Thanks for all the support. See you out there.

Tropical Fruits

November 21, 2016

It's here! My latest book, Years of Ideas from a Simple Sailor is now available on Amazon.

One of the many benefits of living in the tropics is the plethora of eatable delights that grow on trees. Of course the mangos, coconuts, and papaya are everywhere, but not until our most recent stint on St. Croix did we really get to know so many of these treats so well. Because of the trees on land we have access to and our willingness to shop for fruit at the post office (and other strange island-style locations) we have been spoiled by the variety available on this little rock. Here are just a few of the fruits that we have snacked on along with some insight on how to enjoy them.


Our fruit basket overfloweth.

Gnips are as prevalent in the islands as mangos, though not as likely to cause allergic reactions. (Though I can eat mangos, I can’t touch the skin, which means Dave can't simply hedgehog them, he has to cut it completely off the skin. He's offered to just eat it for me, too....) Gnips are small fruit that grow in clusters on what can be an enormous tree. It's not unusual to see kids walking home from school reach up and grab a handful to eat on the way. Store keepers often have to shift a seed to their cheek so they can conduct business. Seeds are spit out all along the sidewalk. Gnips are a much welcomed fruit that is around for many months. I always miss them when they're gone. Gnips can be eaten at a large range of ripeness. In fact, I've never had a "bad" gnip. Use your front teeth to bite a circle through the skin along the equator of the fruit, then pull off half of the skin. Holding the other half of the skin like a cup, pop the fruit out of it and into your mouth. Chew the fruit off the seed. Have a toothpick handy, because it's nearly impossible to eat even one gnip without getting some stuck in your teeth. And it's completely impossible to eat only one gnip.


Gnips

Sugar apples were my favorite "new" fruit for many weeks. One pleasing aspect of a sugar apple is that it can be picked long before it is ripe. In fact, if you want it eat it instead of feeding it to the deer, birds, or chickens, you MUST pick it early. If white has started to appear between the geometric shapes, it can be picked and will ripen. We have had sugar apples sit on the counter for over a week, checking them twice a day. You know they are ready when the skin starts to separate with just a little pressure. There is a narrow range of time from that point until it is too ripe, sometimes only a few hours. We have eaten a sugar apple at midnight because we forgot to check it after dinner and we knew that if we waited until morning it would be too late. Pull the fruit into half (if you plan on sharing), and bite off a mouthful of fruit and seeds. The flesh can be grainy, like grains of sugar, but it is fantastically sweet. Don't eat the seeds, but don't waste any yumminess by leaving any fruit on them, either. Spit out the clean seeds and take another mouthful. They can't really be called "bites" because you are slurping as much as biting the fruit. It really is much more appetizing to eat than to read about.


A ripe sugar apple

Carambolas, or star fruit, are so common some times of the year that they are literally given away at the farmers markets. I saw a toddler walking around munching on one as if it were a candy bar, starting at one pointy end and eating every last juicy bit. Or all of it that didn't run down her hand, and arm, and dress. I love tolerant parents! The "civilized" (i.e. boring) way to eat a carambola, of course, is to cut it into star-shaped pieces. These often decorate cocktail glasses in season. Personally, I've become a fan of the "candy bar method." We could all learn a lot about how to enjoy life by spending more time with three-year olds.


The inside of a sugar apple. Inside the white "bumps" are black seeds.

Passionfruit products are much more prevalent in stores than the fruit itself. Where we are they literally fall at your feet. The vines reach high up into trees and you only know the fruit is ready when it reaches the ground. Thankfully for humans, they don't damage themselves during the fall. Those who don't mind a process strain the insides through a cheesecloth or something similar to remove the seeds. The juice is then made into sorbets, fruit drinks, and other tasty products. Dave and I, however, are a lot less demanding. We cut it in half, he scoops his half (seeds and all) into a glass of water, adds copious amounts of sugar, and drinks it, chewing as necessary. I take my half and a spoon, and savor every seedy bite right out of the fruit. No processing or condiments necessary. The seeds are easy to chew and other than getting stuck in my teeth, aren't distracting enough to take away an enjoyment from the sour fruit.


Carambola

When I started this post, I didn't realize how much there was to say about the fruit sitting in our basket! Looks like we'll have to finish this discussion on MONDAY. To my American friends, Happy Thanksgiving! May all of your holiday meals include love and laughter, friends and family, and some tropical fruit.

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Connie McBride's work has been published in Good Old Boat, Sail Magazine, Small Craft Advisor, Cruising World, All at Sea, and Blue Water Sailing. As a full-time liveaboard cruiser for over 15 years, she has written several books and in her spare time, well, who has spare time?

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