You know those times when you feel out of sorts and can’t quite put your finger on why? Or you know the why, but the thing that’ll put you right again is slippery, vague, just out of reach? That’s how I’ve been the last week or so. It’s mental and physiological: I’ve been getting up way too early, often before 6am, regardless of how late I go to bed. I haven’t needed my alarm in over a week. Life has been carrying on pretty much as normal though, and one thing that brightens all my days is the fruit of summer! I know technically summer is over now, but it’s still warm here and I think this late summer/early autumn period is the best time – fruitfully speaking 😉 – of the year. Let me show you a few reasons why!
These are guineps. At their best they are sweet, a little tart and juicy. I mean, squirting-from-the-shell-as-you-bite-it-open juicy. Luckily for my mum and I, that’s the kind we have growing on the tree in our yard. They are sooo good. I ate two big bowl-fulls two days in a row last week and then told myself I should take a break before I got sick. At that point my tongue was feeling permanently puckered.
Vendors are all over the streets selling guineps by the bagful, for all the unluckies with no access to a tree. Guineps have a hard protective shell that you crack open with your teeth, so they can handle being tossed around where other more delicate fruits, like seagrapes, cannot.
At their best, I think seagrapes taste the way purple looks. They have a deep, smooth sweetness, almost like a red sangria. Like guineps, they have a big seed inside; when they’re overripe the fleshy covering just manages to hold itself together and melts away once it meets the gentle heat of your mouth.
These funny looking bumpy things are called sugar apples. Each one of the bumps has a seed encased in a creamy, sugary lobe. When they’re ripe sugar apples have to be handled with care, because any one of those bumps can easily be pulled away from the whole. Sugar apples are fun to eat, although if you’re not a fan of seeds in watermelons then you probably won’t enjoy dealing with these either. My Aunt Ruth has the biggest sugar apple tree I’ve ever seen in her backyard, and I leaned gingerly at the top of a ladder to take the pictures of the fruit still on the branches. They’re hard to spot because they blend in so well with the leaves!
I have no idea what nutrients are in any of these fruits, although I’d guess vitamin C in guineps and antioxidants in seagrapes. While there’s definitely room for this kind of information on our food, and it’s sorely lacking for everything that grows locally – I think the focus on “superfoods” can cause us to distill foods to their functionality, and take a little of the joy out of eating, you know? Seagrape trees look so cool, and the fruit itself is pretty. Hunting sugar apples is like playing a game of I Spy, and I marvel at how easily they come apart in your hands when they’re ready. Guineps make this great *pop* when they crack open, and their texture is like no other. I eat all of these because they taste good, and there is so much more to them than their nutrient qualities.
Anyway, I’ll step off my little soapbox now and wish you a happy weekend. Also, I’d love to hear what you do when you go through those unsettled periods in life. Thanks in advance for your tips!