It is truly amazing to have many tropical plants growing in our back yards and sometimes I realize how I dismiss the beauty growing around me. I now capture my tropical paradise more often than before as I am very lucky to live in paradise. I often complain that it’s too humid, too hot, too chilly when temperatures drop below 80 degrees, too rainy, ya dida blah blah. Sometimes I feel the weather can’t make up it’s mind or is bipolar and then I stop and see that all these changes are what makes our island unique and special… tropical. It is our distinctive weather that allows us to grow vibrant floras (flowers) and delicious frutas (fruits) that our island visitors from around the world come to treasure and appreciate.
Enjoy the first of a series of posts highlighting the beauty of our island’s floras and frutas.
Papaya grown by my-laws in their garden.
Because the tree is so fruitful, my in-laws give away their papaya to anyone who wants them. Bear eats it raw when fully ripe and sweet. My mother likes the young papaya that is just about to become ripe, slightly orange but mostly white flesh, for pickling. Mmmmm… candied papaya or Mrs. Tudela’s papaya turnover sounds good just about now. What would you do with it? The possibilities are endless.
Stage 1 – flowering of the mango. You can see small green buds that are the young pollinated fruits starting to grow. This preymantis is giving me that stare down to stay away from his territory.
Stage 2-3 – The survivors of many continue to grow and start off cashew shaped and then straightens out.
Yes, these mangoes are dunkolo (huge). We gave a mango seed to my father-in-law 4 years ago from a tree near our former residence. We had never seen mangoes so large with a lot of meat inside, extremely sweet, and juicy. He successfully grow the seed and it now produces so much since. He says we are only allowed to pick one mango per season as a thank you for the seed. Nice try dad! I’ve made smoothies, cut them up into bite size pieces and ate them as a frozen snack, baked mango cake and bread, and so much more.
Mom-in-law has these vivid flowers growing in the front of her house. They are so lovely to look at. Makes me happy whenever I see them. I believe they are called datei/Indian mallow. Do you know?
My father-in-law had these and I was so excited to see them. I remember eating these so much as a child. This is actually the first since moving home that I’ve come across these. He says that auntie down the street has a tree of these. Exciting!
Bear or his dad do not remember the name but say it from a lemai (breadfruit) type tree. So I asked around and also researched. “Mansåles…something like that,” my assistant says. A colleague thought it was a large åbas (guava). After searching mansales, I came up with nothing. After searching for about an hour, I “think” I found the name… ambarella (aka ‘kedon, jew plum, June plum, and so on). Do you know of another name?
Ambarella has a very tough, sour, bitter skin. The inside contains a hard hairy pit. The fruit is crunchy and tastes like a combination of young guava, coconut, green apple. It is slightly tart but sweet and leaves a thin film on your tongue and grainy feel on the roof of your mouth. It is not one that I can eat often but the mere fact I’ve had the chance to eat it is satisfying enough.
Finally, my fave of all flowers. I bought stephanotis seeds during one of my daycations to Hawaii but never planted them… I don’t have the green thumb to grow from the seeds. I am more successful with starter plants, which I was lucky to find on another Hawaii daycation.
Since planting it by my driveway, I have had the pleasure of smelling them before I go to work and when I return. Sometimes the jasmine-like fragrance is so intense, especially when it rains, that I can smell it from afar.
I waited a whole year for 1 seed pod to open up so I could give it to my father-in-law. He fell in love with this flower after smelling them at my house but can never remember the name. Tonight he informed that he has successfully grown 4 seeds and is excited to plant them down to grow wild in his garden.
Stay tuned for more Tropical Paradise posts.
Passion: Island Life