Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Island fruits

I love talking botany and foodstuffs with my co-workers, and the numerous fruit trees on the property present a wide variety of topics for us to learn a little bit about each other's cultures.

One conversation resulted in the astonishment of my co-worker that not only had I never tasted a marmy apple (also known as a mammy apple) before, I'd never even heard of one. So the gardener picked a ripe one off the tree for me, and I shared it with HB at home.

Similarly, although I'd heard of and seen breadfruit before, I had no idea what to do with the ripe one our gardener tried to give me. "Cook it like a potato" was the answer from one of the housekeepers. Not exactly self-explanatory, as there are so many ways to cook a potato.

My general ignorance of which fruit or nut is growing on which tree has also led staff members to assume I don't know what almonds or tangerines are - a misunderstanding quickly cleared up when I explain that although I've eaten them plenty of times, I've never seen them growing "in the wild" as it were.

Perhaps most satisfying is the overall willingness of BVIslanders and those from throughout the Caribbean to share their knowledge of island fruits and plants with me. All I have to do is ask. Guess it's time to find out what those spiny green things on the tree near the laundry are. I think they're sugar apples, but I'd be delighted to find out I'm wrong.

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