I use hachiya not
to describe one
variety, but more
as a descriptor
of varieties that, when soft, you
can stick a straw in and suck out
the insides. Dried persimmons, or
hoshigaki, hanging outside, are a
staple at my house.
Ice Cream Banana
A few years ago, the Four
Seasons chef and I were
unloading my truck at the
resort to set up a display,
heavy on bananas, for a
special function. A little boy
and his father came by, and the boy
was excited to see so many bananas
on the stalk. He said, “Daddy, I want a
blue banana,” to which the father replied,
“There is no such thing, son.” I showed
them a hand of blue javas.
relative, and just about
the only fruit that’s
indigenous to Hawaii,
the ohelo, in the wild, is often confused
with other inedible berries. The good
news is that you will eventually be able
to buy plants from an Oregon nursery
or request them from the germplasm
repository in Corvallis, Ore., or Hilo, where
extensive variety trials are underway.
could be called
as sweet. It has a pleasant sweet/
tart flavor. As a staple in Kerala,
Karnataka and Tamil Nadu states,
the juice is added to morning curd,
sometimes in tea, and with curd/
yogurt at dinner, or simply enjoyed as
a juice. Innovative chefs in Goa might
make reductions and coulis and a
host of different sauces.
This has to be in the top
10 of all the fruit I play
with and enjoy eating,
with some varieties
having the capability
to become truly world-
class fruit. Paulista is
one of them, and it’s
hard to describe the taste. It’s not
simply Concord grape-like. It also
depends on how you bite into the
skin and how much tannin you get.
This “bush tucker”
from Down Under is a great little berry
that does well in tropical environments
where we can’t grow many other berries.
Nanka Better known as jackfruit, nanka has to be one of the most underutilized fruits outside India. In the West, we have just barely begun to scratch the surface of what can be done with it.
Lulo or Naranjilla
Lulo, Colombian for naranjilla,
was popularized in Kona by
a coffee farmer. There have
been a number of adoptions
by chefs who use the fruit in
a wide variety of dishes.
I like this better than rambutan. It’s much harder to grow, especially
in dry locations, such as Kona, but the taste is more intense
and sweet. This is one of my favorites to take into grade-school
classrooms. I bring a big burlap coffee bag filled with 30 or 40
different fruits, depending on the number of kids in the class. They
each get to pick one out of the bag to eat and talk about. The expressions when
they grab the soft rubbery spikes of pulasan are classic.