Monday, April 03, 2006

Summer Bounty

Kaimíto/caimíto, or cainito, star apple (Chrysophyllum cainito L.)

They are in peak season now, selling for Php20-25 per tumpok (the way vegetables and fruits have been sold since our grandmothers and maybe even before that, by grouping them in a circle, priced per round/mound) of about 8-10 ripe pieces. Great to store in the refrigerator, and in the morning take them out and halve them, and scoop out the cold, milky sweet flesh. I'm happy to see so many of this fruit during summer, indication that we still have lots of those big, far-reaching, leafy and shade-providing caimito trees around.

The Department of Science and Technology website on fruits and herbs provides information that caimito leaves can be used to cure diarrhea, and I'm surprised to learn that the fruit, sweet as it is, is good for diabetics.

I like to eat the fruits on their own, or mixed with a little evap and condensed and served cold. I've seen a recipe for sherbet, too, and the photo looks nice, but I haven't tried it yet.

I have an issue, though, on why some local fruits are called -apple this and -apple that (star apple, pine apple, and some others whose names escape me at the moment). They do not in any way taste or look like apples, and calling them apples somewhat diminishes them since they are pitted against that temperate fruit, removing from them their own unique identity.
Green mango shake. Long before green mango shake started its rounds in city restaurants, Pangasinenses have been grating the maták-ken (mature, unripe fruits) mangoes and squeezing them in water, adding ice and sugar to make a sour-sweet mango juice. Palate-cleansing, especially after meat dishes. Teeth-tingling, too. And, needless to say, saliva-inducing (I'm just drooling right now).

But I've taken to the shake, and so has my husband. It's easy to make and won't require muscles for squeezing. I just peel and slice an unripe mango and process them in the blender with two trays of ice cubes, half a cup of water and half a can of condensed milk. If no condensed milk is available I substitute ordinary white sugar (I prefer brown sugar but it discolors the shake).

All varieties of unripe mangoes can be used for this - pao/pajo, "Indian," kalabaw, even immature ones (malánguer, mura), although the really mature ones gives a magatâ edge to the shake.

Pakwán-Lakamás Salad

It's great to be eating things that do not require cooking, thus requiring minimal preparation and no swelteringly hot stints in front of the stove. We're not even in the peak of summer yet, and already it has the makings of being the hottest one in years. The brief showers last week provided some respite, but the heat is going full-blast once again.

In this fresh summer salad I combined slices of two kinds of succulent summer harvest - watermelon and jicama - atop a bed of greens "freshened" up by chopped leaves of fresh mint. Splashed with balsamic vinegar or any local fruit vinegar (cherry, papaya, duhat) for a tangy note, or a combination of patis (fish sauce) and honey for a different shade of sweetness with salty tones, it's so refreshing as well as very filling that I could just eat it the whole day and let summer go by without any misgivings about the heat.


Anonymous said...

nakakamiss naman niyan. kailan kaya naman kaya ako makakatikim ng kaimito?

Theoretical Cook said...

Wow! The caimitos look delicious. More fruit posts please!...Happy summer.

Anonymous said...

kaimito! i'll definitely let the kids try this one out when we get there! and your salad looks really scrumptious..patis and honey..really? and of course! grreeeenn mango shake!!!i'm on my way to saisaki now!!!!

Anonymous said...

if you notice kai,pineapple and star apple are fruits indemic and native to locales that have undergone massive what is used to describe them is the lexicon of the colonizers.
The colonized, on the other hand, also indigenize the names of foreign things.
Branding objects is a way of claiming them psychologically.
this are just a crazy assumptions of mine.the result of drinking too much coffee i guess. hehe
please dismiss them as nonesense.

Kai said...

Actually, Angelo, I find what you said very logical. And so apt in the cultural context of colonization - branding.

Anonymous said...

thank you. i have been searching for a recipe because my father in law bought some green mango and asked if i can make a shake. anyway, i heard somewhere though that it needs salt? i dunno if how true....thanks!