Thursday, January 15, 2009

Tropical fruit of the week: Acerola

One of the benefits of living in a tropical climate is access to tropical fruit. And I'm not talking about bland, imported tropical fruit that was picked off the tree when it was still super green and unripe, then sat in a boat or on a plane for a couple of days before being put on the shelf at New Seasons or Whole Foods to then be sold for like $10 and that has almost no taste left. No...I'm talking about local fruit, just off the tree and cheap, or in the case of this acerola above, free, and amazingly delicious!

I had never had acerola before coming to Salvador, and I think the best way to describe it is that it's similar to cherries. As you can see it grows on a tree and is small and red like a cherry. The flavor is completely unique however, and this fruit can be eaten plain or you can use it to make juice. I'm a pretty big fan of acerola juice myself, and they say that it's packed with vitamin C.

Here's a picture of Vilma, my student and my student's daughter picking acerola at Fazenda Real. The trees were overflowing and we took advantage of the opportunity to get some fresh acerola.

I highly recommend trying acerola if you ever come to visit Brazil. And it's also fun to try some of the other tropical fruits that you've never heard of. Go to a juice shop, look at a menu, and pick out the strangest looking name of a fruit that you can find and try it. I can almost guarantee that you will love it!

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