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: Part Two

November 28, 2016

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

Last week we started talking about the fruit that those of us lucky enough to spend some time in the tropics get to enjoy. Today, we'll continue by talking about a fruit that was once called "starvation apple." When it was brought to the West Indies to feed the slaves, they refused to eat it. Chances are, it wasn't served with butter.

Our fruit basket

Breadfruit is a touchy subject in our household. Improperly prepared, they are horrendous! Much like green bananas cooked in their skins (good one, Dave!), once you've eaten one, you may never want to be in the same room with one again. But having faith in my captain/chef/husband, I agreed to try it again, once he did a little research on how to prepare them. Hint: wait until it is definitely overripe and nearly rotten, and then, OVER cook the dang thing! When you think it "might" be done, cook it for another hour, just to be sure. Because nothing short of green bananas cooked in their skins comes close to how horrible unripe or undercooked breadfruit is. Here's how he finally got me to enjoy them. And yes, I do mean "enjoy" and not just "tolerate." (Cooked correctly, they are wonderful!) Leave the breadfruit on the counter until it is so ripe that you can hardly handle it without putting your fingers through it. At this point you can stop the ripening process by putting it in the fridge. You can leave it in that suspended state for a few days. When you are ready to cook it, put it in a shallow pan with an inch or two of water. Bake it at 350 degrees forever. The problem with breadfruit is that they come in some many sizes that it is nearly impossible to know when it is fully cooked. You certainly can’t cook one by a timer. Start with an hour, but be prepared for it to take 2 hours. You know it is done when you can pull the stem out of the fruit. The center part of the fruit will come with the stem, leaving a hole. If it won't pull out, it's not done. But when it does, grab the butter and a fork and wait for no one. Because even if it is ripe and perfectly cooked, a cold breadfruit is disgusting. Slather it with butter, eat it quickly before it cools off, and it is fantastic. But you can see why we're a bit hesitant to eat many of them. There's just too much to go wrong. Now, I know, somewhere there is someone who prepares a great breadfruit dish in some other manner. That's wonderful. For you. I've finally found a way I enjoy them, and I'm sticking to it!

Ripe breadfruit

The most recently added fruit to our basket is the cherimoya. Similar to a sugar apple, this fruit has large seeds surrounded by tasty, soft flesh. It is a bit firmer than a sugar apple and the meat is smoother, without that grainy texture sugar apples sometimes have. Knowing when it is ripe is a bit trickier, since there is no pulling it apart like a sugar apple, but there also seems to be a larger range of ripeness. You have a day or so when it is perfect, rather than a few hours. It will still feel a bit firm even when it is ripe enough to eat, so don't wait until it is mushy like you would a sugar apple. I'd still have to say that it is my number 4 favorite fruit. Mango has everything else beat, hands down. Sugar apple is number three, but number two is perhaps the most unusual of all: a soursop.

Roasted breadfruit

A soursop is indeed sour, but its flavor is much more complex than that. Anyone with food consistency issues (I know some people who can't eat mashed potatoes because of the consistency.) would likely not enjoy a soursop. But for the rest of us, they are divine! Like the passionfruit, some people strain them and use the juice in ice cream, sorbet, fruit drinks, and other concoctions. I like mine with a fork. Yes, you have to eat this fruit with a fork. Its flesh holds tenaciously to the skin and requires either a fork, or when it's mostly devoured, your teeth, to remove it. There are large seeds, like many tropical fruits, to eat around, but they detract from the experience not at all. (In the picture of the fruit basket, the large fruit on top of the bananas is a soursop.) The worst thing about a soursop is that it is hard to be patient enough to let it completely ripen before opening it. With many fruits, close enough is close enough. A not quite ripe mango is just not quite as sweet. But a not quite ripe soursop is nearly inedible. There is nothing more disappointing than anticipating a sweet, juicy bite of soursop only to cut it open and realize you're too early. The flesh should be tender, though not quite as mushy as a breadfruit. It is much better to try it a day too late than a day too early. My impatience often gets the best of me and I am tempted to cut into a soursop that I've been watching ripen for days. Before I do, I always hand it to Dave, who invariably, for many days, says, "Give it one more day."" Ugh! But I'm always thankful for his patience, because the enjoyment is always worth the wait.

The center pulls out with the stem when it is cooked.

The seasons for these fruits vary. Some are longer than others, and many of them overlap (obviously, from looking at our fruit basket). It seems that there is never a time when no tropical fruits are available, although right now the only thing waiting in the basket for us is a papaya. But I know it won't be long before the mangos are hanging from the trees again. In the meantime, we're on the hunt for some other tropical fruits we haven't yet discovered. Suggestions?


MONDAY we'll share some used boat parts tricks.


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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