PAGASA announced last weekend that summer has officially started. It began early this year, compared to last year's, when summer began mid-April.
Summer, for me, means the beach. But at this time, so close to winter with the ice and snow still melting in the temperate regions, seawater can still be too cold for comfortable swimming. Waves can still be too big. So we're not going coastal soon.
But we've been enjoying summer fruits for a while now. Mangoes, of course. Melons and watermelons, which usually turn into their sweetest selves by April and May, have been abundant since the Christmas season.
Melons are near bottom prices already by this time, selling for Php25 a piece. Most don't look good, though, having dark bruises. Vendors say the damage is only skin deep, but I choose ones that feel firm throughout, and emit a sweet fragrance. The scent alone is a sure-fire way to ensure I'll have sweet, succulent cubes of cantaloupe for breakfast that instantly disappear the moment the kids wake up.
My mom used to serve cubes of cold melon drizzled with condensed milk, and the mingling smell of milk and fruit is indelibly carved in that part of childhood memories I recall if I want to feel comforted. So much so that I became a fan of the melon milk available in local grocery stores.
It was only in college that I learned to eat melon by itself, when we were served slices of the fruit in my dormitory. From then on I found that melon is sweet and refreshing by itself, and needs no other accompaniment.
But I have tried making melon shakes, and melon ice candy, to cool the blazing afternoons of summer. I don't know why, but with milk - condensed, or evaporated, or fresh, or cream - the concoctions turn bitter. I tried putting melon strips in halo-halo and fruit salads, too, and I get the same result. And I'm so deathly curious, because I remember during summers in my childhood we'd have the melon cubes coated with condensed milk sitting in the refrigerator all day.
Anyhow, fresh fruit in season at their sweetest don't need anything else, and won't interfere with weight and lactose issues. Though I'll keep looking for that compatible dairy. Melon shake and ice candy are unparalleled heavenly treats I don't want my kids to miss.
Guava, Pajo, Chico
Papaya, Senorita, Pinya
Mix Them All Up!
How to Eat A Mango
Mango Ice Candy