I thought it was about time to show you all our Tropical Fruit Garden here in Goa, India. This is the best season for me to show off with all the wondrous fruit treats growing in our garden. We have many more trees but they are still pretty young, in fact most of them have been planted a year ago, but more about that later on.
Of course we do have some non tropical fruit trees too and general plants. I am the proud mother of an Olive tree, Italian Lemon tree and Custard apple tree (the latter is rather a subtropical tree). I gave up on the European herbs. Either they grew well for a few centimeters in the last monsoon season, molded and died right after that or I tried to plant the seeds and nothing ever grew in the dry season. Right now this project is on ice until I figure out a solution and once I know how to grow herbs such as oregano, basil, watercress etc, you will be the first one to read about my tips and tricks here at Masala Herb.
So, now let’s get to my tropical fruit garden and I bet there will be some kind of fruits which you have never seen, tried or heard of before.
Jackfruits are massive in size and heavy with each weighting in average about 10 kgs upwards. They are known to be the biggest fruits on earth and when they fall you better be standing far away. It’s not that they bounce that much, but they could easily knock you down and we don’t want that right? There are two known variations of the Jackfruits here in Goa. The fruit flesh of the first kind is rather jelly like and the second one in comparison has a harder flesh. The fruit smells tempting, in fact its hard to explain, maybe I would call it a cross between banana and apple with some floury notes at the end. I would suggest to always oil your hands and your knife when you are planning on cutting it up, it’s super sticky!
Most of us have tasted a mango before and we would always recognize it’s intense sweet flavors. Yet, I have had the chance to taste different kinds and I can tell you each type has a bit of a different flavor. Those here in the picture should be the Alphonso type, although I could be wrong. My absolutely favorite mango is the so called Bishops Mango. It’s massive at least 1 kg heavy, without strings and a soft smooth tasting pulp. The flavors are balanced and each bite makes you want to have some more. However the Bishops mango isn’t that common and rather rare in the surrounding area. There are many more but I am not a mango expert and the local konkani names might be known others where as something else.
Bilimbi (Cucumber Tree)
We here in Goa call the Bilimbi simply Bimli. It’s a common fruit tree and it tends to grow wild too. When eaten raw it tastes rather plain and maybe bitter. So locals usually quarter the fruit and add salt and some Turmeric powder on top and eat it uncooked or uncured. Otherwise they tend to use the Bimli in spiced Pickles, which by the way I have been wanting to post for a while now. Watch this space and you might get the chance to learn an original konkani pickle recipe for Bimli.
That’s a small very unripe and hard chikoo. They do grow around the year but animals such as squirrels and bats like to attack them before they are even ripe. I think so we have about 3 Chikoo trees in the big garden and I guess 2 are suppose to be different than this chikoo tree in the picture.
I love loveapples… What a declaration, but oh so true! This watery fruit appears either in white (as in the picture), pink/reddish or as a half pink and half red. Sometimes they are sweet sometimes rather bitter, it all depends on where it grew and what soil the tree had, to produce the fruits. While I am writing this I am munching on one and the one I am eating is from a neighbores tree and rather bitter, but I still like it. =)
How shocked I was when I saw my first Banana tree as a child. I never expected the fruit to grow that way! I thought they grew just like apples, but look at this there with the gorgeous huge flower at the end. The flower is edible by the way and is considered a delicacy world wide. At the beginning of the fruit growing process the banana flower is still near the banana leaf and gradually it will grow out, adding little tiny green bananas to the row. Banana trees grow best near wastewaters and I can guarantee that the taste of the banana fruit is more intense at the end.
Those fruit pods dangling in the air do look very odd. Our Tamarind tree stands right there in front of our house and to get a whole untouched Tamarind fruit flesh pod isn’t that easy with the little squirrels attacking them. So when the wind blows we are ready to pick some neat ones from the floor. The flesh inside the pod has many strings, it is red/brown/whitish and super sour. They say the older a Tamarind tree is the better the fruits will taste and I feel they are right because the color of the flesh tends to be dark too then. The wood itself is super strong, some sawmills don’t cut Tamarind wood since they say it will break their machinery’s. I know this tree will certainly never fall on my house because it seems to be deep rooted and quite elastic.
My Papaya trees grew wild and at some point we had about 6, until some decided to die in the rainy season. I am still not sure what their motive was, it might have been because they did grow right next to each other and their branches need space. At least 2 survived and 2 smaller ones are growing on different spots, so we are in no shortage. The smaller the tree the smaller the fruits will grow, but I ll tell you the taste is more intense in smaller fruits. I keep mine on the tree until they turn orange and then only I remove them, although by doing that I have to take care that somebody won’t think of picking it.
I declared the breadfruit the most useful fruit cum vegetable in 2012 and I still believe my words from that time. Our breadfruit tree was planted a year ago and he is giving fruits for the first time! Right now we have discovered 3 balls and I bet they will take some more weeks to ripen fully into big round fruits. A full grown tree gives about 200 fruits a year in India and the fruit is nutritious and tastes great if used with spices. Read more about the Breadfruit here, where I explained it’s uses and preparation methods.
We call this lemon tree here Italian lemon because of its shape difference compared to the small round Indian lemons. The leafs of the trees are much bigger too and they are certainly not that common in Goa. We were lucky to get one here and had to plant it of course right next to our house. This is the first ever fruit growing on this tree and I am already excited to know what it will taste like.
Now this is a soursop tree and it is obviously too small to grow fruits. We got him last year in July and we had been hunting for the Soursop for a while before, without finding any. You might recall how I had stumbled upon this fruit back in 2011 and if you visit this post you ll discover that it seems to have anti cancer properties. At that time I was one of the few who knew about this fruit (after researching for a while), now everybody is looking for it and there are no fruits sold in the market. It has become rare and I hope maybe we will be able to get some more Soursop trees in the future.
The other day I found some Thai Lychees in the shop. After devouring them I had a bunch of seeds left so I thought I ll just throw them there. Well, I never expected anything and I guess because of that I had a whole bunch of Lychee trees growing after a week. At least we think they are Lychees. What do you think?
Other young fruit bearing trees without fruits this year in our garden:
- Custard Apple
- Indian Lemon
- Passion Fruit ranks
If you have any questions feel free to leave a comment underneath!
Which of the fruits mentioned above hadn’t you known yet?
You might have realized that I hadn’t published a new recipe post last week and as you might know me I feel pretty guilty about that and this is a huge exception for sure! Long story short, I had a few reason for that, number one, the fact that it was about time to clean up my little backstage mess at Masala Herb. I am not fully tech savvy and I have to admit I still have a load of things to learn, so of course with the amount of pictures, published recipes, constantly growing amount of visitors and with my lack of knowledge in some fields I ended up in a pretty big mess which involved some bandwidth issues and as you might have noticed a slow loading time of the page all in all. So, this was (and still is!) problem number one. Further I am planning some major add ups/changes in the future and in general I would like to give you, my guest, an enjoyable time here on this page, so the spring cleaning and fresh air here is much needed and welcomed. Reason number 2 for my absence was the inauguration of Maureen’s (orgasmicchef.com) and mine’s new page Food Writer Friday. More about that here. Number three was the fact that we here in Goa were totally surprised by an internet problem. Not that I have never experienced slow or non existent internet here, but this time it was different. For 5 days we could only access Google and Twitter mostly, after the 3rd day we were at least getting to open Indian pages and pages that are hosted in the US. Anything coming from Europe was not accessible, which was so weird! I am still not sure what might have caused that since everybody panicked here in Goa. It might have been a server outage in South India, or the hacking attack in Holland or the infamous cable cut in Egypt or simply all problems at once. Anyway now its solved and I am back!