Fruits of the Season
Few things are more particular to time and place than the fruits we eat, especially when living without paved roads or refrigerators.
Under these conditions, a change in weather foretells a change in diet. Soon new fruits will become available, as the year’s first cyclone looms over northern Madagascar, and the rainy season sputters to a slow start in the Deep South. Below is a sampling of the last fruits of the dry season, now made all the more exquisite by the short window of time left to enjoy them.
'Baobab'Endemic to Madagascar, baobabs shed their leaves each year, revealing woody fruits on branches that look more like roots. Inside it’s bone-dry, with seeds coated in pulp so acidic it strips the enamel off your teeth. Hence, it’s best enjoyed diluted as baobade. Heat water until it boils, shut off the gas, dump the insides into the pot and leave overnight. Next morning you have milky juice and 40 seeds ready for the nursery. Bottle and store in a cool place. After three days, the result is a thirst-quenching beverage that tastes like a cross between lemon and coconut.
'Mahabibo'Can you tell what this is? You may have guessed by the seed. It’s cashew.
Rich, creamy, and slightly sweet, it’s a topshelf nut in America. Few Americans, however, know it to be part of an edible fruit. Out here, no one eats the seed. With flesh unlike any other fruit, it’s a struggle to describe. A little sweet, it looks like banana Laffy Taffy, and feels almost rubbery. After eating a few, one’s throat may tighten, as if being poisoned.